Jay Haley

An American psychologist known for his work in family therapy.

Jay Haley was an American psychologist recognized as one of the founders of family therapy. Haley was a cofounder of the Family Therapy Institute in Washington, DC, and he created the publication Fam-ily Process. His contributions to the field of therapy include the development of strategic and humanistic processes.

Haley was born on July 19, 1923, in Midwest, Wyoming, to Andrew J. and Mary (Sneddon) Haley. On December 25, 1950, Haley married the musician Elizabeth Kuehn. They had three children: Kathleen, Andrew, and Gregory, and were divorced in 1971. Haley received his B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1948. He later earned a B.L.S. from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1951 and an M.A. from Stanford University in 1953.

Haley was interested in family therapy, particularly in later years. He served as a research associate between 1953 and 1962 in the Project for Study of Communication, Veterans Administration and Stanford University, Palo Alto, California. Between 1962 and 1967 Haley was director of family experimentation at the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto. He served as the director of family research between 1967 and 1974 at the Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic. Beginning in 1974, Haley was the director of the Family Therapy Institute, in Chevy Chase, Maryland, from which he retired in 1995.

Haley published a number of works on family therapy. These include Techniques of Family Therapy (with Lynn Hoffman) in 1967, Leaving Home in 1981, and Reflections on Therapy in 1982. Other therapyrelated works include Strategies of Psychotherapy in 1963 and Uncommon Therapy in 1972. He also wrote The Power Tactics ofJesus Christ: And Other Essays in 1969 and edited Advanced Techniques of Hypnosis and Therapy (1967) and Changing Families (1971). Haley received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Milton H. Erickson Foundation.

Haley's work focuses on all the family relationships a patient has, not just the ones seen as creating the immediate issues for which the patient is seeking assistance. He believed that problematic behaviors actually make sense within the context in which patients find themselves, and therefore it is important to change those contexts to improve outcomes. He was well known for his clear writing style.

In 1995 Haley retired to La Jolla, California, where he died on February 13, 2007, at the age of 83.

See also Family therapy ; Psychotherapy .



Capuzzi, David, and Stauffer, Mark, eds. Foundations of Couples, Marriage, and Family Counseling. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2015.

Haley, Jay. Leaving Home: The Therapy of Disturbed Young People. New York: Taylor & Francis, 1997.

Haley, Jay. Ordeal Therapy: Unusual Ways to Change Behavior. Bethel, CT: Crown House, 2011.

Haley, Jay. Problem-Solving Therapy. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1991.

Haley, Jay. Strategies of Psychotherapy. New York: Norton, 1990.

Richeport-Halye, Madeline, and Carslon Jon, eds. Jay Haley Revisited. New York: Routledge, 2010.


Jay Haley on Therapy. http://www.jay-haley-on-therapy.com (accessed July 24, 2015).


American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, 112 S. Alfred St., Alexandria, VA, 22314-3061, (703) 838-9808, Fax: (703) 838-9805, www.aamft.org .