It was through these observations that Haley and the other members of the MRI were able to develop strategic family therapy, a brief approach that focuses on observing and altering the interactional sequences in which a problem is embedded. Further, this association led to Haley becoming the chief chronicler of Erickson’s work (e.g., Haley, 1973, 1985a,b,c). During his tenure as the first editor of Family Process, Haley traveled around the country observing others’ work and encouraging them to submit articles to the new journal.


During this period, he observed five family therapists conducting therapy and discussed with them how they conceptualized cases and why they intervened in the ways they did. These interviews, along with verbatim transcripts of their sessions were published in book form as Techniques of Family Therapy (Haley and Hoffman, 1967). This book was the first to clearly show readers how family therapy was practiced.


However, it was Strategies of Psychotherapy (Haley, 1963) in which Haley declared all-out war on the traditional mental health establishment by refuting such ideas as patient-therapist transference and therapist nondirectiveness. He presented a therapy based on interaction, relational power, and therapist directiveness. Haley continues to create controversy among students and mental health practitioners with his direct and provocative writing style.