Paul Watzlawick

(1921-2007) Austrian psychologist, disseminator, philosopher

(1921-2007) Austrian psychologist, disseminator, philosopher, he participated in the Palo Alto group and was one of the founders of the Mental Research Institute group where he worked since 1960. “The invented reality (1981)” and “Reality of reality (1976), “Pragmatics of human communication (1967)” are three of his many constructivistic books well known worldwide.

Umberta Telfener: He seemed a quiet and introverted man, quite frustrating for the young student who would approach him: not one word beyond the strikt words needed. His Italian was quite good, he had graduated in philosophy from the  University of Venice. In Italy he was a myth, his book Pragmatic of Human Communication was a must for every student in systemic thinking. I was very surprised when I arrived at the Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic, the temple of family therapy, and found out that few colleagues had read his book.

Mauro Mariotti: Certainly the MRI was my baptism, how could I forget Watzlawick’s shoes popping out, him asleep in his celestine Volkswagen, parked behind the MRI in the place that bore his name next to John Weakland and Richard Fish? How could I forget John’s sessions, him eating chicken with his hands during the conversation, while simultaneously sipping some unknown liquid, while the family spoke responding to his provocations? Professor Sarteschi’s talks come to mind, in his long white medical gown that kept you apart, a noble, a Count, a puzzled man. I remember the confusion of mine, me  who decided to leave a world to seek a new one, wonderful and frightening because unknown.

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