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Strategic Family Therapy

The Strategic Family Therapy Center carries forward the work of Jay Haley, MRI’s first Research Director, one of its founders and a pioneer in family therapy.


Brief Therapy

The Brief Therapy Center has been in existence since 1966 and offers solutions to an array of different problems since then.


MRI is approved to provide continuing education credits for MFT’s and/or LCSW’s and approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education credits for Psychologists.


More than 60 research projects have been completed at MRI since its founding in 1959.

The Mental Research Institute

The Board of the Mental Research Institute (MRI) has completed its initial planning phase
to revitalize the mission of the organization. The goal of this was to strengthen MRI’s impact,
and leverage advances that have occurred over the last decade in the field of psychology of social
systems and interactional approaches to the promotion of mental health through positive change
in social systems.

Founded in 1959, by Don Jackson, the Mental Research Institute of Palo Alto, California, has
been one of the leading sources of ideas in the area of interactional/systemic studies, brief
psychotherapy, and family therapy. MRI started the first formal training program in family
therapy, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and more than 700 papers and books
were produced — many of them seminal. MRI was a magnet for leading figures in the field.
Among these, such internationally recognized innovators as Jay Haley, Paul Watzlawick, John
Weakland, Virginia Satir, Richard Fisch, Jules Riskin, William Fry and John Bell. Through its
many years at the Middlefield Road location, the founders presented creative models for the
comprehensive approach to systemic family therapy and to brief therapy — models which, in
turn, have influenced subsequent brief and family therapy approaches throughout the world. One
of the most widely cited articles in the field described the double bind theory. It was coauthored
by Gregory Bateson, Don Jackson, Jay Haley, and John Weakland (Bateson, G.,
Jackson, D.D., Haley, J. & Weakland, J., 1956, Toward a theory of schizophrenia. Behavioral
Science, Vol. 1, 251–264.)

MRI’s new mission will continue to support advancing interactional approaches to human
problems through innovative research, education and practice by focusing on support for
organizations and individuals. As a means to fund these initiatives and maximize its impact, the
Mental Research Institute will create an endowment fund through the sale of its current building
located at 555 Middlefield Road.

The momentum behind mental health in the 21stst century requires breakthrough thinking about
how to increase systemic support and understanding of the processes that promote mental health
and positive change in individuals, families and organizations. MRI intends to continue its
leadership role as a major contributor to the study and application of interactional human systems
and to continue its leadership role in supporting and stimulating innovative solutions to address
interactional approaches to human problems.