EUROPEAN FAMILY THERAPY ASSOCIATION
CONNECTING FAMILY THERAPISTS AND TRAINERS
(1922–2001) Psychologist and pioneer family therapist
(1922–2001) Psychologist and pioneer family therapist, born and raised in South Philadelphia, was one of the founding members of the American Family Therapy Association. He developed an object relations approach to intergenerational and family-of-origin therapy. He collaborated with other pioneers in the field and authored or co-authored several early and significant texts in the field of family therapy. He collaborated with Ivan Boszormenyi-Nagy; together they founded the Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute.
Maurizio Andolfi: Jim was the very first pioneer to be invited in Rome in 1971. We connected very well and became friends. When, in the following years, I was traveling from NYC to Philadelphia, he invited me to see his work with multi couples groups and to sleep in his home. He couldn’t understand my desire to go to work with Minuchin at the Child Guidance Clinic that he renamed as the “ Child Obedience Clinic” referring to the fact that Minuchin had some rigid rules that had to be followed.
When he was in Rome I took a picture with him, I framed it and gave to him in Philadelphia. Many years later, I was doing a workshop in San Diego. His second wife Denise came close to me and gave to me the framed picture we took in 1971. She said :”Jim kept it for many years on his desk, now that he is gone, you can get it back to remember him”.
Carmine Saccu: The first time he came to our Institute, having been in the US 5th Army, he wanted to retrace the road from Anzio to Nettuno, taking photos to remember his youth. The second time, after a seminar on his intergenerational model with families of origin, he instead went to Calabria. He was an Albanian from Calabria and there he found a large community that welcomed him. He was looking for the stones from his house and found a family.
His wife Mary had also Italian origins, she too was looking for the stones from her ancestral home. When her mother died, her father remarried and Mary left for America as a sign of disagreement. When came here with James she thought she would no longer find anyone but instead she found many people who welcomed her.