Marriage and Family Therapy Psychologists


1st place

The first-place winner in the field of marriage and family therapy in the 1950s is to be awarded to Gregory Bateson, a social scientist, British anthropologist, and cybernetics. His contribution to the area of family therapy is to be recognized as the most considerable; in 1956 Gregory Bateson managed to articulate a schizophrenia-related theory based on double-blind situations. The scientist together with his colleagues disclosed the perceived schizophrenia symptoms as the distress expression being valued as the transformative experience. It is necessary to underline the fact that this work appeared to be of considerable importance in the explanation of the schizophrenia etiology; besides, in modern science, this work can be regarded as the illustration of Bateson’s approach to the communication complexities. (Hecker, and Wetchler, 2003)

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2nd place

The second award of the 1950s is to be referred to Nathan Ackerman through the establishment of the Family Mental Health Clinic in New York in 1957. It is necessary to underline the fact that he contributed to the understanding of family organization based on behavioral interactions. The creation of the clinic and its service appeared to be based on a theoretical approach and conceptual model developed by Ackerman. At the period of the Family mental health clinic foundation, he managed to act as the psychiatrist and a scientific research department consultant. Besides, it is necessary to underline the fact, that in the 1950s Ackerman wrote the book dedicated to anti-Semitism; he provided a detailed analysis of the phenomenon providing certain solutions through the work ‘Anti-Semitism and Emotional Disorder, a Psychoanalytic Interpretation. His contribution to the field of family therapy is still valued through the number of concepts and approaches developed through his career. (Hecker, and Wetchler, 2003)


1st place

The first prize of this epoch is to be awarded to Salvador Minuchin, a family therapist, who is considered to be the author of the structural family therapy created in the mid-1960s. His form of family therapy called SFT is based on unique terminology and diagrammatic family parameters which had been unknown to this field before. Minuchin managed to explain the concept of family through its ability to adapt to various stressors, such as idiosyncratic, extra-familial, and developmental; his contribution can be characterized by successful attempts to promote family system restructuring based on healthy lines. Minuchin’s theory is concentrated on the cooperation with families through concrete thinking and subsystem isolation, helping the family members to evaluate the problems and develop personal tools for their solution.

2nd place

Virginia Satir, an American psychotherapist, is regarded to be the second-place winner of the 1960s. It is necessary to underline the fact that in 1962 Satir appeared to be the winner of the NIMH grant for the development of the first training program based on family therapy. In 1964 she wrote the work ‘Conjoint Family therapy’ traveling with the book across the countries to promote her methods. Her approaches helped the field of family and marriage therapy to disclose the concept of ‘self-esteem’ and its meaning in the family relationships balancing. The contribution of Satir was expressed through networking ideas helping the individuals to cope with mental health problems. (Gladding, 2002)


1st place

Ross Speck is to be considered the first prize winner of the 1970s period; Speck is a psychoanalyst and family therapist expressing a strong interest in anthropology and sociology; it is necessary to underline the fact that in 1972 he worked out special research on schizophrenia family therapy covering the problems of drugs, adolescents and depression. A family therapist is considered to be the author of such works, as Family Networks and the New Families (1972), contributing to the field of psychotherapy. Being the originator of network therapy, Speck managed to disclose the importance of new families restructuring and its role in the relationships problems solution. His theoretical approaches, being referred to the first generation therapists, are considered to be the background for modern family and marriage theory development.

2nd place

Georg L. Engel is considered to be a great contributor to the development of the biopsychosocial model in 1977. His second-place award is to be explained through a general approach in the BPS model based on psychological, biological, and social factors; the therapist managed to explain the factors functioning in the disease context. It is necessary to underline the fact that the model development appeared to be part of modern nursing, medicine, sociology, and health psychology. He developed the term ‘biopsychological paradigm’ used for the well-known mind-body connection concept. Besides, it is necessary to underline the idea that his article published in the ‘Science’, explaining the need for a new medical model, appeared to be the guided formulation for the importance of BPS usage in the field of marriage and family therapy. (Gladding, 2002)

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1st place

John Bowlby is to be regarded as the first place winner in the period 1980s; a British psychoanalyst and therapist created the work ‘A Secure Base’ in 1988, striving to describe the elements of attachment theory development. This period was considered to be reflected through contribution to Material Care and Mental Health; the work written at that time disclosed the elements of developmental psychology, ethology, and cognitive science, sticking its principle psychological concepts to the field of marriage and family therapy. Bowlby predominantly contributed to the child therapy analyzing this field through social interaction in family relationships. (Hecker, and Wetchler, 2003)

2nd place

Michael White is the originator of Narrative therapy in the mid-1980s; an American family therapist made a significant contribution to psychotherapy. The development of Narrative therapy is close to the concepts of narrative psychology focusing on situated and narrative notions of the therapy. White managed to conceptualize personal approaches through this theory developing unique narrative practices on the principles of persons’ separation from attributes or qualities. The considerable role of the therapist can be evaluated through the new terminology introduced in the field of marriage and family therapy. The elements of psychotherapy narrative models were especially stressed in the North American science development. (Hecker, and Wetchler, 2003)


Gladding, S. (2002). Family therapy: history, theory, and practice. 3rd Edition, Merrill.

Hecker, L. and Wetchler, J. (2003). An introduction to marriage and family therapy. Routledge.

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