Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

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

Selvini-Palazzoli, Mara

  • Amanda Dishon-BrownEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_744


Mara Selvini Palazzoli (1916–1999) was a key contributor to the development of the family therapy in Italy during the late 1960s through 1980 (Tomm 1984). Selvini Palazzoli, alongside her colleagues (Luigi Boscolo, Gianfranco Cecchin, and Giuliana Prata) established the famous Milan group in 1971 (Ansgar and Bruckner 2016). Although previously influenced by the work of psychoanalysts, this group of therapists began to adopt the Mental Research Institute’s (MRI) Palo Alto approach to therapy based on the work of Gregory Bateson, Jay Haley, Don Jackson, and Paul Watzlawick (Marchetti 1993). However, the Milan group adopted varying theoretical hypotheses about family therapy and developed a unique approach to working with families, particularly under the umbrella of Strategic Family Therapy (Tomm 1984). In 1980, the foundational Milan group disbanded, and Selvini Palazzoli founded both a research institute as well as practice, “New Centre for the Study of the Family.” It was...

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  1. Ansgar, F., & Bruckner, B. (2016). Selvini Palazzoli, Mara. In Biographical archive of psychiatry. Retrieved from www.biapsy.de/index.php/en/9-biographien-a-z/226-selvini-palazzoli-mara-en.
  2. Marchetti, M. C. (1993). A critical appraisal of the work of Mara Selvini Palazzoli. Retrieved from https://ujdigispace.uj.ac.za.
  3. Selvini, M. (2004). Mara Palazzoli Selvini: A typical case of resilience. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 32, 217–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Tomm, K. (1984). One perspective on the Milan systemic approach: Part I. Overview of development, theory, and practice. Journal of Marriage and Family Therapy, 10(2), 113–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Northern Kentucky UniversityHighland HeightsUSA

Section editors and affiliations

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