Centro di terapia breve strategica Malta


Parish Priest Mifsud Str. Hamrun, MALTA



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Historical notes




The origins of the strategic approach come from the ancient Greek tradition of Chinese art and rhetoric of the sophists of the stratagem, or the ancient arts to solve seemingly intractable situations through the use of stratagems and evocative and persuader ways to communicate (Brief Strategic Therapy, 1997 - Ride the tiger's, 2003), and based on communication theory, which was developed by the anthropologist Gregory Bateson; on the constructivist developments of cybernetic epistemology carried out by Heinz von Foerster and Ernst von Glasersfeld; and on Milton Erickson' s studies on hypnotic suggestion. 


The theory and application of communication, in its pragmatic and therapeutic aspects, have been further developed and systematized by Paul Watzlawick and the School of Palo Alto.

Since the 1970's, brief therapy has spread almost epidemically despite some resistances by authors attached to traditional clinical theories and orthodoxical practice. Many researchers and therapists have made this approach to human problems and their solutions well known internationally (Watzlawick, Weakland and Fisch, 1974; Weakland et al., 1974; De Shazer, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1988; Haley, 1963, 1976; Madanes, 1990, 1995; Nardone, 1991, 1993, 1995, 2004; Nardone and Watzlawick, 1990; Zeig and Gilligan, 1990; Cade, O’Hanlon, 1993; Bloom, 1995; Watzlawick, Nardone, 1997; Nardone, 2000; Nardone, Rocchi, Giannotti, 2001; Nardone, Watzlawick, 2004). 


Since 1987, Giorgio Nardone developed the modern evolution of the "Brief" to a form of advanced therapeutic technology, the "Brief Strategic Therapy ®" for more than twenty years demonstrates its fruitfulness and effectiveness in many contexts and in different cultures.


 Giorgio Nardone and Paul Watzlawick made further innovations and contributions in "The Art of Change" (1990). This book, which has been translated in several languages, clearly explains the most updated model of brief strategic therapy and presents, for the first time, specific treatment protocols.


In his next work, " Brief Strategic Solution-oriented Therapy of Phobic and Obsessive Disorders" (1993), translated in a lot of languages, Giorgio Nardone again introduces original protocols, developed through clinical experiments, for strategic interventions on specific clinical problems (phobias, obsessions,fear, panic attack and hypochondria). These strategies have led to an innovative change of these types of problems. 


In later years the same empirical and experimental research procedure has also been applied to eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and vomiting. The result has been the development of effective, specific protocols for the treatment of these pathologies, as shown in "Le prigioni del cibo - Vomiting, Anoressia, Bulimia- la terapia in tempi brevi" (1999)- English Edition, 2004, The Prisons of Food: Strategic Solution-oriented Research and Treatment of Eating Disorders, Karnac Publishing, London.


The clinical research and practice carried out by the Centro di Terapia Strategica in Arezzo has produced a significant increase in the efficiency and effectiveness of therapeutic interventions. The C.T.S. has garnered international scientific awards. In 1997 Paul Watzlawick and Giorgio Nardone edited an anthology on brief advanced therapy, "Terapia Breve Strategica" with the contributions of the most important authors all over the world. In this work, published in a lot of languages, the theory and the most advanced models of strategic treatment for the most important types of psychologic pathologies are presented.


The objective of the on-going research carried out by the Centro di Terapia Strategica in Arezzo is the development of ever more effective, repeatable, and trasmittable models of brief psychotherapy.


In 2005 Giorgio Nardone has published two important texts in english language, one with Paul Watzlawick, "Brief Strategic Therapy: Philosophy, Techniques and Research", (Jason Aronson, U.S.A.), and another together with Claudette Portelli, "Knowing through Changing: The Evolution of Brief Strategic Therapy"  (Crown Publishers, UK) that show all the works and researches carried out at C.T.S. in Arezzo (Italy) during the last ten years. The readers can have an exhaustive look on the advanced model of Brief Strategic Therapy developed according to the Palo Alto tradition; important and unique is the rigorous research work and the result shown about 3482 treated cases (88% of cases solved; average lenght of treatment: 7 sessions) regarding a large range of psychopathologies, with some peaks of efficacy on specific disorders as panic and phobias, obsessive-compulsive and eating disorders. These empirical and experimental data show undisputibily how effective and advanced are the protocols set up by C.T.S. team for the treatment of specific pathologies.

Brief strategic therapy has undergone continuous growth and enhancement from its very origins, made possible by ongoing research and evaluation of the obtained results followed by subsequent modifications.


After the initial historical, almost “artistic” phase, in the sense that it was mainly founded on the genius like intuitions of a few great therapists, brief therapy has thus become a rigorous model, based on continuous technical advancements developed from empirical clinical practice, action research, and the most advanced theoretical and epistemological formulations.


Our constant struggle is to work toward finding better means—in our strategies, communication, and therapeutic relationship—that take us beyond what has been achieved so far, and this can be done exclusively through systemic research on everyday practice. We are in accordance with Abrahamson’s (2001) notion that practitioners should engage in a continuous search for evolved models that give equal weight to scientific rigor (i.e. treatment efficacy) and clinical utility (i.e. treatment effectiveness). That is our everyday “mission”.


Our “mission” is to go beyond our present limits, and we are aware that this can be done through an always more appropriate integration of research and practice. We are conscious of the fact that we should not rest on our past achievements, but continuously look into and evaluate what has been achieved, to see a better future. As Eugene Delacroix  (1961) says, “What moves men of genius, or rather what inspires their work, is not new ideas but their obsession with the idea that what had already been said is still not enough.”




Short info

Brief Strategic Therapy is a unique approach to training and human problems solving that presents specific theoretical foundations and practices in constant evolution based on the latest empirical research.

It’s a brief therapeutic intervention (meaning with "brief" below 10 sessions) that is engaged, on the one hand in eliminating dysfunctional symptoms or behaviours for which the person is coming to therapy


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Parish Priest Mifsud Str.Hamrun, MALTA

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