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Masters of Couples and Family Counseling 

Harold Goolishian

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A colleague of Harlene Anderson who developed a linguistic approach to family therapy that featured the adoption by therapists of a not-knowing position and a privileging of clients-as-expert.

John & Julie Gottman

John Gottman: A researcher from the University of Washington and the Gottman Institute known for his longitudinal studies of couples and families; he is the author of The Marriage Clinic and The Heart of Parenting (with Joan DeClaire). His work with children focuses on emotion coaching.

Julie Gottman: Scholar, collaborator, and spouse of John Gottman and a trainer at the Gottman Institute in Seattle, Washington.

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Jay Haley

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Founder and co-developer of the Washington School of Strategic Family Therapy. Haley was the most prolific writer in the strategic family counseling model, and his influence was felt across the United States and in Europe. For many years, he worked with his second wife, Cloe Madanes.

Rachel T. Hare-Mustin

A feminist family therapist; one of the first to promote gender-awareness in family therapy.

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Harville Hendrix &  Helen LaKelley Hunt

Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt.

Harville Hendrix: Together with his partner, Helen LaKelley Hunt, the developer of Imago therapy with couples. A leader in pastoral counseling for many years, his focus on couples started with the development of structured communication interventions. 

Helen LaKelley Hunt: Together with her partner Harville Hendrix, the developer of Imago therapy with couples. A philanthropist and feminist, she brings a strong focus to the empathy required in couples counseling.

Clair Hawes

Adlerian couples counselor who developed a relationship enrichment course called Couples Growing Together.


Lynn Hoffman

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Family therapist, social worker, and author of foundational articles and books in family systems therapy, she started her career with Jay Haley and strategic family therapy and evolved into a leading spokesperson for postmodern, social constructionist approaches.

Don Jackson

Co-founder and developer of Mental Research Institute model of family therapy. Worked with Virginia Satir on the development of conjoint family therapy while she was at MRI.


Susan Johnson

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Scholar and developer of Emotion-Focused Therapy with Couples. Her work involves an application of attachment theory for connection and healing within the couple relationship.

David Keith

A co-therapist with Whitaker and a scholar-practitioner of symbolic-experiential family therapy.

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Eve Lipchick

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A clinical social worker who joined the Brief Family Therapy team and helped to develop solution-focused therapy. Her scholarship often centers on the relationship of theory to practice with a special emphasis on the epistemology of solution-focused therapy.

Cloes Madanes

Co-developer of the Washington School of Strategic Family Therapy with her husband at the time, Jay Haley. Her strategic work focused on transforming the broken spirit in the most difficult families through concrete, strategic interventions. After moving to Southern California, her work with couples and couple relationships became centralized in her work and writing.

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Monica McGoldrick

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A leading family researcher and Bowen-trained, feminist therapist who developed, among other things, genograms, considerations of culture and ethnicity in family therapy, and the family life cycle. Literally, there is no part of the current practice of couples and family counseling that has not been touched, developed, or enhanced by her work.

Jean McLendon & Hugh Gratz

Jean McLendon

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Jean McLendon: A Satir scholar and director of the Satir Institute of the Southeast in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The foremost Satir trainer in the United States.


Together with her friend and training partner, Hugh Gratz, Jean runs a summer training program in Chapel Hill.

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Salvador Minuchin

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Founder and developer of structural family therapy: For more than four decades, Minuchin was the dominant voice in the field of family counseling. His structural model during the 1970s and 1980s was the most used family therapy model in the United States.

Augustus “Gus” Napier

Co-author with Carl Whitaker of The Family Crucible, and a scholar-practitioner of symbolic-experiential family therapy. His book, The Fragile Bond, written with his wife and partner is the best book on couples counseling within the symbolic-experiential model.

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Virginia Satir


Born Peggy Pagenkopf, Virginia Satir became the first woman to develop a unique approach to family counseling. Originally called Conjoint Family Therapy, her model evolved over time into the Human Validation Process Model. Her focus on self-esteem, congruent communication, and facilitating the process of change were a foundation for many creative and effective interventions with couples and families.  Her model, today, is carried forward by Jean McLendon, Hugh Gratz, Maria Gomori, Sharon Loeschen, and John Banmen, to name a few.

David & Jill Scharff

Object-relations family therapists who bring modern psychodynamic therapy to their work with couples and families.  The Scharffs work individually and together to create a holding space for their clients in which transference can be assessed and re-experienced.

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Mara Selvini Palazzoli

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Founder and developer of the Milan (Italy) model of strategic family therapy. Her initial focus with her therapy group was on the use of paradox and counter-paradox, the games families played, and circular questioning. Later in her career, she invented the invariant prescription—telling parents to leave for an evening without giving any warning to the children or telling them where they were going--which she gave to all families in distress.

Louise B. Silverstein

A feminist family therapist and co-author with Thelma Goodrich of Feminist Family Therapy: Empowerment in Social Context.

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Froma Walsh

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Author of Normal Family Processes and Strengthening Family Resilience, and a collaborator with Monica McGoldrick and Carol Anderson.

Paul Watzlawick

Theorist for the Mental Research Institute’s approach to strategic family therapy.

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Michele Weiner-Davis

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The co-developer William O’Hanlon of solution-oriented therapy, she is the author of Divorce-Busting, and her work with couple spans the relational spectrum from sex-starved marriages to abuse within relationships. Her original training was at the BFTC in Milwaukee. 

Carl Whitaker

The founder and developer of symbolic-experiential family therapy. Whitaker was a pioneer in family therapy whose work influenced everyone from Salvador Minuchin to Jay Haley.  The author or co-author of numerous books, his work is most easily understood in the videotapes of his practice.  He was the first family counselor to use co-counselors on a regular basis. His emphasis was on working with the whole family and focusing on releasing the creative energy within the family for connection and caring.

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Michael White

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A founder and developer of narrative therapy. Living in Australia, he was a collaborator with David Epston from New Zealand. His best selling books on Narrative therapy are Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends (with Epston) and Maps of Narrative Practice. White’s model started a revolution in family counseling and became the foundation for postmodern, social constructionist work with families.

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