Jay Haley on Therapy Home Link

Jay Haley: The Strategic Therapist

What is strategic therapy?

Strategic Therapy is any type of therapy where the therapist initiates what happens during therapy and designs a particular approach for each problem. As Haley wrote in Uncommon Therapy: The Psychiatric Techniques Of Milton H. Erickson MD: "Strategic therapy isn't a particular approach or theory, but a name for the types of therapy where the therapist takes responsibility for directly influencing people" (Pg. 17).

In the 1950s, therapists began to study the environment of a patient, not just the patient himself. The theory of strategic therapy states that the patient's symptoms are a result of attempts by family members to correct what they consider "problem" behavior. Haley's strategic therapy focuses on short-term, targeted efforts to solve a specific problem.

A therapist employing strategic therapy must:

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   Identify solvable problems.

Jay Haley On Therapy Icon   Set goals.

Jay Haley On Therapy Icon   Design interventions to achieve those goals.

Jay Haley On Therapy Icon   Examine the responses.

Jay Haley On Therapy Icon   Examine the outcome of the therapy.
 Jay Haley on Therapy Strategic Chess Game Image
Jay Haley has refined and mastered the technique of strategic therapy. His approach is modeled after the therapy developed by Milton H. Erickson MD, one of the world's leading hypnotists and psychiatrists. Erickson believed that within one's consciousness, everyone has the power to heal himself or herself. Erickson's ideas and methods have greatly influenced therapists from all schools for decades, and they continue to do so through the talent and writing of therapists like Jay Haley in his directive approach to therapy.

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What's In This Site?


Family Therapy: Haley's family therapy works for everyone, from couples to children to teens. Download a PDF file from his book, The Power Tactics of Jesus Christ.

Problem-Solving Therapy: How does problem-solving therapy aim to produce change?

Strategic Therapy: This is a fascinating approach to therapy where the therapist initiates the patient's action.

Therapist Training: Haley works to instruct therapists in new approaches to therapy. Take a quiz written by Haley, too.

Works of Jay Haley: Find a complete list of Haley's books on therapy and training and a list of his training videos.

Books in English:  Find a complete list of Haley's books on therapy and training published in English.

Books in Other Languages:  Find a complete list of Haley's books on therapy and training published in other languages.

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Haley Therapies: Find all of Haley's materials on therapy and therapist training available for sale here.

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