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Strategic Family Therapy

The Strategic Family Therapy Center carries forward the work of Jay Haley, MRI's first Research Director, one of its founders and a pioneer in family therapy.

Haley called the therapy Strategic because "it is a therapy where the therapist initiates what happens during therapy, designs a specific approach for each person's presenting problem, and where the therapist takes responsibility for directly influencing people."

After leaving MRI, Haley collaborated for a number of years with Salvador Minuchin where they mutually influenced each other's thinking. Minuchin's structural family therapy is a part of Haley's strategic model.

He described the therapy in one of his many notable books-"Problem-Solving Therapy," which helps to describe the therapy. He encouraged live supervision, whereby beginning therapists learn the art and skill of this new way of doing therapy by practicing in front of a one-way mirror, supervised by a team that assists the trainees in how to be most effective at helping clients to solve problems. That tradition is carried on here at MRI.

The theory underlying Strategic therapy has been the basis for most of the significant evidence-based family therapies of today.

The Center was established at MRI in 2001 through the vision of Eileen Bobrow, M.A., MFT. The Center offers therapy to individuals, couples, families, children and adolescents. Therapy fees are affordable and based on ability to pay. Clinic hours are flexible.

Under the direction of Ms. Bobrow, the Strategic Family Therapy Center also provides training, consultation and live supervision to interns, licensed therapists and agencies interested in learning the model. Ms. Bobrow has more than 32 years of experience helping families, couples and individuals. She received extensive training in Strategic Family Therapy with Jay Haley and Cloe Madanes and was a regional faculty member of their Family Therapy Institute of Washington D.C.

She has trained mental health professionals from around the nation and the world both through the Strategic Family Therapy program at MRI and as a consultant and teacher throughout her long career. -Read more about our services-

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NEW DATES have been set up for this externship.

3-month Externship: January 19 – April 12, 2015.
Now accepting applications for January 2015

The Strategic Family Therapy Training Center is offering a 3-month Externship Training Program in 3 modalities:
• Strategic Family Therapy,
• Ericksonian Hypnotherapy and Hypnosis
• Gestalt Therapy from a systemic perspective.

*Additional classes in MRI that are not part of the Externship program are included.

Tentative Schedule (dates & times to be announced)
Hypnosis training will take place on Mondays.
Case discussion & behind the one-way mirror are Monday afternoons.
Gestalt is scheduled for Tuesday mornings (group 1) and Wednesday afternoons (group 2).
Somatics & behind the one-way mirror are Thursday afternoons.
Didactics on Fridays.

FINAL PROJECT required in order to earn certificate.

*Days and times are tentatively scheduled and are subject to change depending on the schedules of teachers and applicants.

Externship Trainers Portraits

Trainers (tentative):
Eileen Bobrow, LMFT
Director of MRI's Strategic Family Therapy and Training Center and a Senior Research Fellow of the Mental Research Institute. She has been both a Faculty Member of the Family Therapy Institute of Washington, D.C. and an Associate Professor of the Gestalt Institute of San Francisco. She trained with Jay Haley and Cloe Madanes and incorporates many of their ideas and influence into her practice.

Lucanna Grey, LMFT
Is licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist. Lu trained as a Gestalt therapist and was a trainer at the Gestalt Institute of San Francisco from 1984 to 1991. Her orientation is primarily existential and Gestalt and she enjoy developing teaching experiences for students and trainees.

Reed Letsinger, LMFT, Associate Director
Reed Letsinger is Associate Director of the Strategic Family Therapy Clinic. He has a private practice for couples, families and individual adults. He focuses on working on family conflict, trauma and loss, and anxiety.

Laurie Phuong Ertley, MA, MFTI
Laurie Phuong Ertley earned a BA in East-West Psychology from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. She also graduated from Santa Barbara Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA with a Masters in Clinical Psychology in 2010. She has been working in the community mental health field in Santa Clara County since 2000. She has a wide range of experience working with substance abuse issues, child abuse and neglect issues, and with couples and family counseling. Phuong has been studying Strategic Family Therapy with Eileen Bobrow, MFT since 2005. She is a Clinician with EMQ Families First in Campbell, CA.

**Years two and three are by invitation only.

For more information, please contact the MRI Director at Our direct phone line is (650) 321-3055.
You can also email Eileen at

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Great Opportunity to Intern with the MRI!

Learn first hand knowledge and gain experience by interning at the Strategic Therapy Center. The Center offers therapy to individuals, couples, families, children and adolescents. Looking for interns who have an interest in mental health and enjoy working with people.

Applicants must speak Spanish.
Please contact the MRI Director at
Our direct phone line is (650) 321-3055. You may also contact Eileen at