Lact - Palo Alto School Representative

Palo Alto School Representative

Center for training, intervention and research
Systemic approach and hypnosis

Online Open House on April 5, 2023 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Come and discover our training courses in systemic approach and hypnosis

Newsletter subscription

The Palo Alto Story by Wendel Ray

Screenshot 2015 05 29 at 13.51.32Gregoire Vitry

Wendel, we are happy to welcome you among us for this webconference.

Wendel Ray

The pleasure is mine!

Gregoire Vitry

Wendel, if you can tell us in a few words, I know it's complicated because it's an important movement, but Palo Alto for people who don't know Palo Alto?


Wendel Ray

For years, when John Weakland was asked the question, "How did MRI start?"

He said "the MRI started...before it started"

By this he meant that there was a whole series of research done at that time under the direction of Gregory Bateson, in Palo Alto and which sometimes refers to Bateson's research within the "Palo Alto group" which does not was not yet called the MRI at that time.

In fact, there was a series of four research projects that began in 1952. The group that later formed the Mental Research Institute (MRI) was first gathered in New York City even before being transferred in San Francisco.

In fact, when Bateson was still in New York, he invited John Weakland to join him in New York, and John dropped out of Columbia University to join him in San Francisco.

This is where the team collaboration began.

If you look at the first research project which is part of a series of 4 projects spread over ten years. In the first research group were Gregory Bateson, John Weakland, Jay Haley, William Fry and Weldon Kees. As for Weldon Kees, he disappeared around 1955. Little is said about him today although he was very involved at the start of the project.

Research projects began in 1954. Bateson invited Don Jackson to join the group. What happened at that time was really important because these research projects really led to a new theory of communication (found in 70 seminal articles).

In fact, it was in 1958 that Don Jackson thought it would be useful to advance the research from this Palo-Alto group by creating an institute on the San Francisco Bay Peninsula. It was therefore in 1958 that the Mental Research Institute (MRI) was born under the impetus of Don Jackson.

In fact, there was a period of transition between on the one hand the Palo Alto group, led by Bateson, of which Jackson, Weakland, Haley and Fry were part, and on the other hand the creation of the MRI which received its first grant in 1959.

In fact, all of communication theory also called systemic, cybernetic theory was first founded by the "Palo Alto group" led by Bateson even before the establishment of the MRI.

This new theory of communication corresponds to the fourth and last project of Bateson's Palo Alto group, a project which lasted 4 years from 1958 to 1961.

One of the reasons this Palo Alto Group project was so important is that this program was federally funded.


Keywords: LACT , Palo-Alto , Wendel Ray

Print Email