Haley, Jay 1923-2007 (Jay Douglas Haley)

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Haley, Jay 1923-2007 (Jay Douglas Haley)


See index for CA sketch: Born July 19, 1923, in Midwest, WY; died of cardiopulmonary failure, February 13, 2007, in La Jolla, CA. Psychologist and author. The cofounder and director of the Family Therapy Institute, Haley was a controversial proponent on focusing on behaviors rather than root causes of psychological disorders. After serving in the U.S. Army, he graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1948. He then earned a master's degree in library science from the University of California at Berkeley in 1951 and a master's in communications from Stanford University in 1953. Working for the Veterans Administration and Stanford University, for the next nine years Haley did communication research. He worked under anthropologist Gregory Bateson, and the team formed a theory about the causes of schizophrenia that hypothesized the cause to be dysfunctional communication with family members. This theory was later proven incorrect, but the study of family communications intrigued Haley so much that he devoted himself to it. He thus joined the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, California, in 1962. Here he was director of family experimentation before moving to Philadelphia in 1967 to become director of family research at the Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic. Haley worked with pioneering family therapist Salvador Minuchin to train those who were not psychologists to lead family therapy groups. In 1974, Haley helped found the Family Therapy Institute in Chevy Chase, Maryland, which he directed until 1994. By this time, Haley had adopted the theories of his mentor, Milton H. Erickson, which emphasized learning simple skills to overcome aberrant behavior. He and Erickson also were at the forefront of leading sessions in which several family members participated at once, rather than treating patients in isolation. These were radical ideas at the time, and Haley was often criticized for not pursuing deeper psychoanalysis of patients' past experiences and emotions. Haley, on the other hand, believed that the main goal of the psychologist was to treat inappropriate behaviors, not spend hours delving into people's faulty memories. While at his institute, he taught his theories at such institutions as Howard University, the University of Maryland, and the University of Pennsylvania. The founding editor of the journal Family Process, he was the author of books on the subject, including Uncommon Therapy (1972), Ordeal Therapy (1984), and Learning and Teaching Therapy (1996). After leaving the Family Therapy Institute, Haley moved to La Jolla, where he continued to teach and write. He also made a number of documentary films with his second wife, anthropologist Madeleine Richeport-Haley.



Los Angeles Times, March 10, 2007, p. B13.

New York Times, March 8, 2007, p. C13.

Washington Post, March 2, 2007, p. B7.