Lact - Palo Alto School Representative

Palo Alto School Representative

Center for training, intervention and research

Strategic systemic approach and hypnosis

 01 48 07 40 40  | 

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      What is family therapy

      What is family therapy?

      Family and marital therapy developed by the Mental Research Institute (MRI) in Palo Alto. This research center, created in 1959 in California by Don D. Jackson , brought together professionals from various fields, including psychiatry, psychology, anthropology and communication. MRI has played a leading role in recognizing family therapy as a distinct discipline. Before that, most therapies focused on the individual.

      Our training course in family and marital therapy

      Our course in family and marital therapy is ideal for training because it is based on solid and diversified foundations from the Mental Research Institute of Palo Alto, recognized for its pioneering role in this field. It offers a deep understanding of relational and communication dynamics within the family, thanks to proven approaches such as strategic brief therapy and systemic theory. By focusing on concrete and rapid solutions to relationship problems, this course allows you to acquire essential practical and theoretical skills to effectively deal with family and marital difficulties.

      Systemician Diploma - Relationship Clinician

      Price for individuals: €4,500

      In 36 monthly payments without commitment

      460 €/month
      In 48 monthly payments without commitment

      Year 1


      Prerequisites :
      have the BAC level
      with or without exp. clinical

      Start of courses : October 1, 2024
      Price of training : €4,500
      (special rate excluding special offer)

      116 hours of lessons
      3 individual supervisions
      Approximately 116 hours of personal work

      foundation level certificate

      Year 3


      Prerequisites :
      having validated
      the Practical level

      Start of courses : September 27, 2024
      Price of training : €6,900
      (special rate excluding special offer)

      186 hours of lessons
      3 individual supervisions
      186 hours of personal work
      + 147 hours of internship

      relationship clinician® diploma

      To find out the prices, select the training that interests you





      Bachelor's degree
      with or without

      clinical experience


      Bac +3

      clinical experience

      Bac +5

      clinical practice


      Bachelor's degree
      with or without

      teaching experience

      Bac +3

      teaching experience


      Bachelor's degree
      with or without

      coaching experience



      Bachelor's degree
      with or without

      clinical experience


      Bac +3

      clinical experience

      Bac +5

      clinical practice


      Bachelor's degree
      with or without

      coaching experience


      Bachelor's degree
      with or without

      teaching experience

      Bac +3

      teaching experience

      Where to train in family and marital therapy? 

      systemic training allows you to acquire the theoretical and practical foundations of Brief Strategic Therapy and family and marital therapy with specific specialization modules:

      Training module by Robert Neuburger and Katharina Anger

      Couples therapy is very specific and complex in terms of reframing. When one party comes alone, they generally place the responsibility for the difficulties on the other. We must therefore be very clear about the approach to the problem; either the person consulting presents a problem that is personal to them, or the problem concerns the couple and in this case, both parties must be present. In all cases, after presenting the situation, the therapist retains his freedom: see one of the protagonists or see both. He is the one who decides. Let us emphasize that the vision is generally causal and linear; the therapist must not fall into this trap. The questioning will make it possible to contextualize the difficulties through concrete situations and reveal the loop in which the couple is locked. This module offers tools for navigating couples' problems with a strategic eye; it provides participants with a better understanding of how this type of problem works and the position that the therapist must adopt in relation to the protagonists.  

      Harassment training module

      Train yourself in strategic techniques to intervene in harassment situations

      LACT systemic training module

      This module allows you to acquire the following skills: 

      • Conduct a strategic systemic intervention by implementing the stages of the protocols with rigor and flexibility in order to adapt to the uniqueness of the patient and his situation.
      • Improved understanding and management of patients suffering from harassment.

      The module presented by Philippe AÏm on school bullying from systemic training deals with school bullying and its management according to Strategic Brief Therapy. This involves learning how to help a person who is the victim of harassment to no longer be harassed, to free themselves from the influence, to understand the typologies of verbal aggression, the indications and contraindications of the method and the areas of 'application.

      A collective and individual supervision module allows you to benefit from personalized monitoring for case studies. 

      Training course on education: DU Strategic systemic approach to education

      This training allows you to acquire the tools of the systemic and strategic approach which will allow the teacher or any support person to put the relationship at the heart of their support. A theoretical part on the fundamentals of the approach will be followed by practical sessions on specific teaching issues such as school bullying and difficult situations. Certain disorders will be discussed such as attention disorders, “DYS” and “hyper”, as well as disorders affecting teachers, depression, burnout, loss of self-confidence, etc. The course is validated by a practical internship and collective and individual supervision. It will allow participants to discover the systemic and strategic approach, to identify dysfunctional relational processes and to block them to put the relationship at the heart of teaching.

      What are the theoretical foundations of family and marital therapy?

      The family and couples therapy developed at MRI is largely influenced by communication theory and in particular by the work of Gregory Bateson and his team, including members like Jay Haley, who explored the dynamics of communication within groups and families, laying the foundations of what would become systemic family therapy. It is also based on systemic theory which understands individual behaviors in the context of systems of relationships, such as the family.

      Brief strategic therapy:

      • Developed by Haley and Weakland, this approach was designed to provide quick and effective solutions to family and marital problems. Rather than focusing on long-term exploration of problems, the emphasis is on identifying and changing behavioral patterns.
      • Therapy focuses on specific problems in a problem solving approach.

      The double constraint:

      • Family therapy also draws on the concept of the double bind developed by Bateson. Double bind is a situation in which a person receives two conflicting messages, usually from a significant family member. This concept has helped to understand how conflicting communications within the family can contribute to psychological disorders.

      The Palo Alto Model :

      • Family therapy draws on the communication patterns of the Palo Alto Model: this model emphasizes how communication patterns within a family can perpetuate psychological or relational problems.
      • Family therapy implements strategic interventions: MRI therapists use a variety of techniques to modify communication patterns, thereby promoting change within the family.

      Who are the creators of Palo Alto Family and Marriage Therapy? 

      Palo Alto Family and Marriage Therapy draws on the communication theory of Gregory Bateson and the writings of Paul Watzlawick, the work of Don D. Jackson, psychiatrist and founder of MRI, pioneer in the application of systems theory to family therapy, and on the principles of strategic brief therapy developed by Jay Haley and John Weakland.

      What are the specificities of family and marital therapy?

      What are the specificities of family and marital therapy? 

      The specificities of the Palo Alto model are at the origin of a unique and influential approach in the field of family therapy, highlighting the importance of communication and interaction in resolving family problems.

      • Emphasis on Communication: The MRI places a strong emphasis on the crucial role of communication in family dynamics . It explores how family members interact and communicate with each other, focusing on communication patterns, verbal and nonverbal messages, and repetitive interactions that may contribute to family problems.
      • Systems approach: Unlike therapies that focus on the individual, MRI takes a systems approach. This means that it views the family as an interconnected system where each member and each interaction contributes to the overall dynamic. This systems perspective helps understand how the behaviors of each family member affect others and the family system as a whole.
      • Brevity and pragmatism: Therapies developed by MRI are renowned for their brevity and pragmatism. Rather than engaging in long-term therapies, MRI focuses on concise, targeted, and practical interventions. The goal is to resolve problems efficiently and quickly, providing strategies and solutions immediately applicable by the family.

      What are the developments in family and marital therapy today? 

      The approaches developed by MRI have had a significant impact on family and marital therapy worldwide. Over time, MRI techniques have adapted and integrated new discoveries and therapeutic approaches. MRI Family and Couple Therapy has therefore been a driving force in the field of psychotherapy, bringing innovative perspectives and techniques that continue to influence clinical practice today. French psychotherapist and psychiatrist Robert Neuburger made significant contributions to family therapy, including introducing new perspectives and techniques:

      • Integrative systemic approach: Neuburger, trainer at Lact, has developed an integrative systemic approach in family therapy. He integrated different elements of psychoanalysis, systemic therapy and strategic therapy. This approach aims to understand not only the individuals within the family, but also the interactions and systemic dynamics between family members.
      • Work on the notion of "normality": Neuburger challenged traditional ideas of "normality" in the family context. He emphasized that what is considered normal or abnormal depends largely on cultural and social context. This perspective has helped to destigmatize certain family issues and encourage a more open and less stigmatizing approach to therapy.
      • Interest in family transitions: Neuburger was particularly interested in family transitions, such as marriage, the birth of children, the departure of children, divorce, and retirement. He explored how these transitions can affect family dynamics and developed strategies to help families better manage these changes.
      • Narrative approach: Neuburger also highlighted the importance of family narratives and the way families construct and interpret their stories. This narrative approach allows us to understand family problems in the context of the stories and meanings that families attribute to them.
      • Brief Therapy Techniques: He has also incorporated brief therapy techniques into his practice, focusing on concrete, quick solutions to family problems, rather than lengthy root cause analyses.
      • Training and supervision: In addition to his clinical practice, Neuburger played an important role in the training and supervision of other therapists, thus contributing to the evolution and dissemination of systemic family therapy in France and beyond.
      • Robert Neuburger's teachings are taught in the LACT couple therapy module integrated into the family and marital therapy training course.

      The relationship is at the heart of family and marital therapy

      The relationship is at the heart of family therapy and is a central element in understanding and treating family problems. 

      How does family and marital therapy view the family? 

      Family therapy is based on the idea that individual problems must be understood in the context of relational systems, that is, the dynamics and interactions within the family. Each family member influences and is influenced by the others, creating a complex web of relationships.  

      How do family relationships work?

      Family relationships operate according to relational systems theory based on the principles of interdependence, feedback and homeostasis, interactional patterns.

      Interdependence: In a family system, members are interdependent. This means that an individual's behavior, thoughts, and emotions affect and are affected by other members. For example, a parent's anxiety can influence children's mood and behavior, and vice versa.

      Feedback and homeostasis: Relational systems operate based on feedback mechanisms. Families tend towards homeostasis, that is, balance or stability. When a change occurs in a limb, the system adjusts to maintain this balance, sometimes in a dysfunctional way.

      Relationship Patterns: Families develop specific relationship patterns over time. These patterns can be healthy or dysfunctional. For example, an overprotective family pattern where one parent constantly overprotects a child can hinder the child's autonomy.

      How does family and marital therapy address individual problems?

      Individual problems are contextualized and analyzed as functional or dysfunctional cycles. 

      Contextualized Problems: Individual problems, such as depression, anxiety, or behavioral disorders, are often better understood when they are contextualized within these relational systems. An aggressive adolescent may be seen as reacting to his or her parents' marital tensions.

      Dysfunctional Cycles: Individual problems can be the result or cause of dysfunctional relationship cycles. For example, the withdrawal of a family member may lead to more attention or pressure from others, exacerbating the initial problem.

      How does a family therapy intervention take place?

      Change the system, not just the individual: The goal is often to change the relationship system as a whole, rather than focusing only on the individual with symptoms. This may involve changing communication patterns, roles, and expectations within the family.

      Power Dynamics and Change: Therapy explores power dynamics within the family and seeks ways to rebalance these relationships to foster a healthier environment.

      Resources and resilience: In addition to identifying and working on dysfunctional aspects, family therapy focuses on strengthening the resources and resilience of the family system, by promoting the positive aspects and strengths of the family.

      In family therapy, individual problems are considered to be intrinsically linked to the family relationship system. By working to understand and modify this system, therapy aims to improve not only the individual's situation, but also the health and functioning of the family as a whole.

      What are the systemicist's techniques in family and marital therapy

      What are the systemicist's techniques in family and marital therapy?

      Communication Patterns: Family therapy examines the patterns of communication between family members. Therapists help identify and change dysfunctional communication patterns, such as conflict, emotional withdrawal, or overprotection, which may contribute to problems within the family.

      How to identify communication patterns?

      • Verbal and nonverbal communication: Family therapy examines both verbal (what is said) and nonverbal (facial expressions, body language, tone of voice) communication. These two forms of communication provide clues about relational dynamics.
      • Conflicting messages and double bind: Therapists observe conflicting messages or double bind situations, where a family member sends a message with two opposing meanings, creating confusion or internal conflict in the receiver.
      • Communication Styles: Families often develop characteristic communication styles, such as aggressiveness, avoidance, passivity, or assertiveness. Each of these styles has a different impact on family dynamics.

      How to understand dysfunctional patterns in family and marital therapy?

      • Conflict: Conflictful communication patterns, such as constant arguing, criticism, or blaming, can create a tense and hostile family environment.
      • Emotional Withdrawal: Emotional withdrawal or isolation from one or more members may indicate a fear of emotional engagement or an inability to express feelings and needs.
      • Overprotective or controlling: A pattern where one family member (often a parent) is excessively protective or controlling can limit the autonomy of other members and create dysfunctional dependencies.
      • Avoidance: Avoiding sensitive or divisive topics may seem to reduce tension in the short term, but it prevents resolution of underlying issues.

      How does family and marital therapy work?

      • Promoting effective communication: Therapists encourage family members to adopt more effective forms of communication, such as active listening, clearly expressing needs and feelings, and constructively resolving conflict.
      • Recognition and expression of emotions: Helping family members recognize and express their emotions in a healthy way can improve understanding and mutual understanding.
      • Redefinition of roles: In some cases, it may be necessary to redefine roles to balance power and control dynamics within the family.
      • Developing New Patterns: Therapists work with the family to develop new communication patterns that support healthier family functioning.

      By examining and modifying communication patterns within the family, family therapy aims to resolve dysfunctions and promote healthier, more satisfying relationships between family members.

      How to identify power dynamics within a family system?

      Power relations within the family are also a subject of analysis. Family therapy explores how power and control are exercised, and how this can affect the health and well-being of family members.

      What is the nature of power dynamics within a family system? 

      • Power Distribution: Power dynamics refer to how power and control are distributed among family members. This can include who makes decisions, who sets the rules, and who has the most influence over others.
      • Power and Family Roles: Traditional family roles can influence power dynamics. For example, in some families, the role of "head of the household" may be associated with more power or control.
      • Communication and power: The way family members communicate can reflect and reinforce power dynamics. For example, a dominant member may interrupt others or impose their opinions.

      How do family power dynamics impact health and well-being?

      • Conflict and stress: Unequal distribution of power can lead to conflict, resentment and stress within the family. Members feeling powerless or controlled may develop emotional or behavioral problems.
      • Development of the individual: Power dynamics affect individual development. For example, excessive control over a child can hinder their development of autonomy and self-confidence.
      • Relationships and Attachment: Power dynamics can influence the quality of relationships and attachment patterns within the family, affecting members' ability to form healthy relationships outside the family.

      How does family and marital therapy intervene on power dynamics? 

      • Identify Power Patterns: The first step is to identify existing power patterns within the family. This may involve discussing each other's roles, responsibilities and expectations.
      • Rebalance power: Therapy can help rebalance power within the family, encouraging a more equitable distribution of responsibilities and decision-making.
      • Improve communication: Teaching effective communication skills can help reduce power imbalances, allowing all family members to speak up and be heard.
      • Changing roles and expectations: Therapy can help families reconsider and change roles and expectations that reinforce harmful power imbalances.
      • Member Empowerment: Therapists can work to empower family members who feel helpless, encouraging them to express their needs and actively participate in family decisions.
      • Conflict Management: Family therapy offers strategies for managing conflict in healthy ways, which is often crucial in addressing issues of power.

      By exploring and changing power dynamics within the family, family therapy aims to create a more balanced and healthy family environment, where all members feel valued, heard and respected.

      How can we identify roles and boundaries within family systems?

      Family therapy helps identify and understand the roles that each member plays in the family. It also addresses boundary issues, the limits between individuals and subsystems within the family, to promote healthier and more respectful relationships.

      • Role Definition: In each family, members often take on specific roles, such as caregiver, peacemaker, rebel, or scapegoat. These roles can be influenced by cultural, social factors, or by family dynamics themselves.
      • Impact of roles on individuals: Roles can influence how individuals perceive themselves and are perceived by others. A rigid or negative role can limit personal development and contribute to psychological problems.
      • Role dynamics: Family therapy explores how these roles are formed, maintained, and changed. It helps family members recognize dysfunctional roles and develop healthier ways of interacting.
      • Defining Boundaries: Boundaries in family therapy refer to the emotional and psychological boundaries that separate individuals and subsystems (e.g., parental subsystem) within the family.
      • Types of Boundaries: Boundaries can be clear, rigid, or diffuse. Clear boundaries are healthy and allow for appropriate interaction, while rigid boundaries can lead to isolation and diffuse ones to enmeshment.
      • Impact of Boundaries on Family Dynamics: Inappropriate boundaries can create problems such as lack of intimacy, over-commitment, or lack of adequate emotional support.

      How to intervene on roles and boundaries in a family and marital therapy intervention? 

      • Role recognition and reassessment: Therapy helps family members recognize and reevaluate the roles they play. This may involve questioning and changing rigid or negative roles.
      • Changing Boundaries: Therapy aims to help families establish clearer and appropriate boundaries. This may involve working on individual autonomy while maintaining connection and support within the family.
      • Improved communication: Effective communication is essential for maintaining healthy boundaries and negotiating roles. Therapy can teach communication skills to facilitate these processes.
      • Role and boundary flexibility: Encouraging flexibility in roles and boundaries can allow for healthier adaptation to life changes and individual needs.

      By working on roles and boundaries within the family, family therapy aims to promote healthier, more respectful and more balanced relationships. This often involves working on communication, mutual understanding, and respecting the needs and limits of each member.

      How to identify interactional cycles in family and marital therapy?

      Family therapy aims to recognize and interrupt negative interactional cycles. These cycles can often maintain or exacerbate problems such as conflict, isolation, or behavioral problems.

      • Repetitive Patterns: Interactional cycles are patterns of behavior and communication that repeat within the family. For example, a conflict between two members may trigger a series of reactions and counter-reactions following a predictable pattern.
      • Roles and Responses: In these cycles, family members often adopt fixed roles (such as aggressor, victim, rescuer) and respond in predictable ways to each other's behaviors.
      • Self-Perpetuating: These cycles tend to be self-perpetuating. A behavior triggers a specific reaction in another member, which in turn triggers another reaction, and so on.

      What is the impact of interactional cycles?

      • Conflict and tension: Dysfunctional cycles can lead to persistent conflicts, misunderstandings, and tension within the family.
      • Behavioral and emotional problems: These cycles can exacerbate or maintain behavioral and emotional problems, such as anxiety, depression, or aggression.
      • Isolation and detachment: Certain cycles can lead to isolation or emotional detachment, where family members withdraw to avoid conflict or emotional pain.

      How does family and marital therapy intervene in interactional cycles?

      • Identifying Cycles: The first step is to help the family recognize and understand ongoing interactional cycles. This often involves breaking down interaction sequences and identifying triggers and reactions.
      • Modification of reactions: Therapy aims to modify the usual reactions of family members. This may involve learning new ways to respond to triggers or manage emotions in healthier ways.
      • Effective communication: Encouraging open and honest communication can help break cycles of misunderstandings and defensive reactions.
      • Conflict resolution: Developing conflict resolution skills helps families manage disagreements constructively, without falling back into dysfunctional patterns.
      • Promote understanding and empathy: Understanding the perspectives and emotions of other family members can help create more empathetic and less reactive responses.

      Family therapy aims to interrupt and transform negative interactional cycles by promoting better understanding, effective communication, and healthier responses. This can lead to reduced conflict, improved relationships, and better emotional health for the family as a whole.

      How does family therapy understand family history and context? 

      Family therapists are interested in the history of the family and its cultural, social and economic context. Understanding the context in which the family operates allows for a more comprehensive and empathetic approach.

      • Take into account the family context 
      • Family genogram: Therapists often use genograms to map family history. This includes relationships, key events, and patterns of behavior that have been passed down through generations.
      • Past events and trauma: Past events, such as death, divorce, or trauma, can have a profound impact on current family dynamics. Understanding these events helps contextualize current reactions and behaviors.
      • Intergenerational transmissions: Beliefs, values, and behavioral patterns are often transmitted from one generation to the next. Identifying these transmissions helps to understand expectations and roles within the family.

      Take into account the cultural, social and economic context

      • Cultural Influences: Culture influences family norms, gender roles, expectations about marriage and parenting, and attitudes toward therapy. Understanding the cultural context is crucial for a respectful and relevant approach.
      • Socioeconomic factors: Socioeconomic status, including living conditions, education, and employment, affects family dynamics and sources of stress. For example, financial insecurity can increase tensions and conflicts within the family.
      • Societal Influences: Societal norms and changes, such as attitudes toward divorce or single parenthood, also influence families. Understanding these influences helps place family problems in a broader context.

      How does family and marital therapy intervene on the impact of family history?

      • Holistic approach: Taking into account family history and context, therapy takes a holistic approach, considering not only immediate interactions, but also broader influences and patterns.
      • Cultural Sensitivity: Therapists strive to be culturally sensitive and informed to respect and understand the family's values ​​and beliefs.
      • Resilience and Resources: Understanding family history and context helps identify sources of resilience and strengths that the family can draw on.
      • Adaptation of interventions: Interventions are adapted to take into account the specificities of each family, recognizing that strategies that are effective for one family may not be effective for another.

      By considering family history and context, therapists can better understand the challenges the family is facing and develop more tailored and effective interventions. This allows for a more empathetic and respectful approach to the diversity of family experiences.

      How family therapy addresses bullying issues

      The consequences of harassment on families 

      School bullying can have many negative consequences on the families of the victims as well as the families of the bullies.

      • Increased Stress and Anxiety: Families of victims of stalking may experience considerable anxiety and stress, worrying about the safety and well-being of their loved one.
      • Communication problems: Bullying can lead to communication difficulties within the family. Victims may feel isolated and not want to talk about their experiences, which can lead to misunderstandings and a feeling of distance.
      • Mental health impact: Family members, particularly parents and siblings, may develop their own emotional distress or mental health problems in response to the harassment experienced by their loved one.
      • School or work problems : Bullying can impact victims' school or work performance, which can, in turn, affect the entire family.
      • Effects on family relationships: Bullying can cause tension and conflict within families, as members may have different opinions or reactions to the situation.
      • Consequences for the families of harassers: The families of individuals who harass may also be affected. They may feel shame, guilt, and face legal or social consequences.
      • Social isolation: Families of victims may become socially isolated, feeling misunderstood or fearing the judgment of others.
      • Changes in family dynamics: The family may have to adapt to new roles or responsibilities to support the victim, which can change family dynamics.

      Harassment and its treatment according to Brief Strategic Therapy

      Harassment and its treatment according to Strategic Brief Therapy involves the different types of psychological violence, the difference between mobbing and straining, the difference between aggressiveness and violence, the EGE model, bullying, intervention and dysfunctional solution attempts, concrete case examples, real or suspected psychotic disorders, male or female sexual dysfunction.

      Contact our team


      Consultation Paris
      9, rue Française - 75002

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      A team of more than
      50 trainers in France
      and abroad

      of our students satisfied with
      their training year at LACT *

      International partnerships

      The quality certification was issued under
      the following category of actions: Training action

      A team of more than
      50 trainers in France
      and abroad

      of our students satisfied with
      their training year at LACT *

      International partnerships

      The quality certification was issued under
      the following category of actions: Training action

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