The Palo Alto Group

The Palo Alto Group was a group of researchers engaged in study of schizophrenia, etc. at the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, California in the 50's and 60's, under the clinical guidance of Don Jackson and the theoretical guidance of Gregory Bateson.

Important names among them were Bateson, Paul Watzlawick, who is one the best communication analysts, and Jay Haley, who introduced the work of Milton H. Erickson to the world for the first time.

One of the important contributions of the Palo Alto Group is that they identified "Double Bind" as a possible cause of schizophrenia (Cf. "Towards a Theory of Schizophrenia" written by Bateson, Jackson, Haley and John Weakland in 1956). Their work also later contributed to the birth of "Brief Therapy", which enabled therapists to cure their patients much more quickly than through conventional methods by focusing on how the patients' problems have arisen, instead of why they occurred.

An especially interesting and significant thing was that Jackson, Watzlawick, Janet Bavelas wrote "Pragmatics of Human Communication" as early as 1967 (over 30 years ago!). This work, dedicated to Bateson, succeeded in elucidating and modelling practically all the basic human communication patterns. There is little doubt that this book gave a seminal influence on the birth of NLP.

The author includes the psychology of the Palo Alto Group into Communication Psychology (or Communication Science), together with Batesonian Epistemology and the methodology of NLP, and considers the Palo Alto Group and NLP to be in a sister/brother relationship under the parenthood of Bateson.

Copyright ©1997-2000, by Guhen Kitaoka. All rights reserved internationally.