Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Weakland, John

  • Cezanne M. EliasEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_757


John Weakland (1919–1995).


John Weakland is a major contributor to the development of family therapy. He played an important role in the conceptualization and application of communication/interaction theory, brief family therapy, and family therapy with aging families. He was a founding member and codirector of the Mental Research Institute’s Brief Therapy Center. He published 5 books and authored more than 60 scholarly papers.


Weakland attended Cornell University at the age of 16 and received degrees in chemistry and chemical engineering. In his late twenties, after 6 years in industrial research and plant design, he took interest in sociology and anthropology and changed careers. In 1953, during his graduate studies at the New York School for Social Research in New York City, he was approached by Gregory Bateson to join his study of family communication in Palo Alto, California. Weakland was involved in a number of projects at the Mental Research Institute...

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  1. Bateson, G., Jackson, D. D., Haley, J., & Weakland, J. H. (1956). Toward a theory of schizophrenia. Behavioral Science, 1, 1–264.Google Scholar
  2. Fisch, R., Weakland, J. H., & Segal, L. (1983). Tactics of change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  3. Herr, J., & Weakland, J. (1979). Counseling with elders and their families. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  4. Watzlawick, P., Weakland, J., & Fisch, R. (1974). Change. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  5. Weakland, J. H., & Ray, W. A. (Eds.). (1995). Propagations: Thirty years of influence from the Mental research Institute. Binghamton: Haworth.Google Scholar
  6. Weakland, J. H., Fisch, R., Watzlawick, P., & Bodin, A. (1974). Brief therapy: Focused problem resolution. Family Process, 13, 141–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Purdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Eli Karam
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA