Although these new gifts were often valued by the host culture, they often did not fit with traditional practices and ended up destroying their society (A good example is the introduction of alcoholic beverages to Native Americans.). Bateson’s greatest fear was that therapists would intervene too much with families and destroy their inherent strengths while attempting to resolve their problems.


These concerns eventually led him away from family therapy to study animal behavior. Bateson died in 1980 at age seventy-six. Don Jackson was a brilliant psychiatrist and charismatic personality who amazed his colleagues with his clinical insights. He was a major influence on many of the key family therapy figures of the time. While working at the VA hospital in Menlo Park, he served as a consultant to the Bateson project, and subsequently became a core member.


Prior to coming to the VA hospital he spent the preceding three years as a psychiatric resident at Chestnut Lodge under the supervision of Harry Stack Sullivan, who taught him about the interactional nature of psychosis (Guerin, 1976). While working with Bateson on the communications project, Jackson founded the independent Mental Research Institute (MRI) in 1959 where he was joined by Virgina Satir (Broderick and Schrader, 1991). Although Bateson was more interested in research, the MRI was more focused on family therapy.