Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

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

Whitaker, Carl

  • Rochelle CadeEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_998


Whitaker, Carl


Carl Whitaker (1912–1995) was a twentieth-century family therapist and professor of psychiatry who is well known for the inclusion of spouses and children in therapy and founding the symbolic-experiential approach to therapy.


Whitaker entered medical school with a plan to specialize in obstetrics and gynecology but switched to psychiatry. In 1946, Whitaker became the Chairman of the Psychiatry Department at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Whitaker left Emory in 1955 and began his work in private practice establishing the Atlanta Psychiatric Clinic. Ten years later, he returned to academia as a professor of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin in 1965 where he remained until his retirement in 1982.

Contributions to the Profession

Over the course of his career, Whitaker made a number of contributions to family therapy. In the 1950s, Whitaker made a significant impact by violating the traditions of therapy at that time. Instead of working...

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  1. Napier, A. Y., & Whitaker, C. A. (1978). The family crucible: The intense experience of family therapy. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  2. Whitaker, C. A. (1989). Midnight musings of a family therapist. New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  3. Whitaker, C. A., & Bumberry, W. A. (1988). Dancing with the family: A symbolic-experiential approach. New York: Brunner/Mazel.Google Scholar
  4. Whitaker, C. A., & Malone, T. P. (1953). The roots of psychotherapy. New York: Blakiston.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Mary Hardin-BaylorBeltonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kelley Quirk
    • 1
  • Adam Fisher
    • 2
  1. 1.Human Development and Family StudiesColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA