Mara Selvini Palazzoli

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Mara Selvini Palazzoli (1916–1999) was an Italian psychiatrist and founder in 1971, with Gianfranco Cecchin, Luigi Boscolo and Giuliana Prata, of the systemic and constructivist approach to family therapy which became known as the Milan systems approach. Worked with families of schizophrenic and anorexic children. With her colleagues, she developed a therapeutic model that is based on Gregory Bateson's cybernetics theory.

Her work is considered theoretically groundbreaking, dramatic in style, and powerful in its impact clinically. Appreciations of her work continued throughout her career and in her obituaries.[1][2]


  • Self-Starvation: From Individual to Family Therapy in the Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa, ISBN 0876687575
  • Paradox and Counterparadox: A New Model in the Therapy of the Family in Schizophrenic Transaction, ISBN 0876687648
  • The Work of Mara Selvini Palazzoli (Edited by Matteo Selvini), ISBN 0876689497


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  2. ^ Sluzki, Carlos E. "IN MEMORIAM: Mara Selvini-Palazzoli, M.D. (1916-1999)". Family Process. 38: 391–398. doi:10.1111/j.1545-5300.1999.00391.x.