“Carl Whitaker was one of the founding generation of family therapists who broke the rules of the psychotherapeutic orthodoxies of the time, such as that therapy focused on a single client and was totally divorced from family life.” — Psychotherapy Networker
It was Carl Whitaker’s idea that the entire family was the client. Known for his charm and charismatic manner, Dr. Whitaker was one of the most powerful voices in shaping the practice of family therapy as it began to develop in the 1960s. Often provocative in his teaching, he told one interviewer, “Every marriage is a battle between two families struggling to reproduce themselves.”
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Carl Whitaker, MD, was an American physician and psychotherapy pioneer family therapist. Whitaker is most well-known for acknowledging the role of the entire family in the therapeutic process. He is the founder of experiential family therapy, or the symbolic-experiential approach to therapy. Rather than scapegoating one family member or even a specific family problem, experiential family therapy looks at the entire family system. Several other approaches to family therapy have drawn heavily from Whitaker's theories.
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