Mony Elkaïm

Honorary Professor at the Free University of Brussels

A systemic approach to feelings

The feelings experienced by a psychotherapist during a therapy are linked, but not reducible, to him or her. These feelings, which are emerging within a given therapeutic system, have a function for that system. This will be evidenced through the simulation of a first family therapy session.


Mony ELKAÏM M.D. is a Psychiatrist and a Psychotherapist. He is Honorary Professor at the Free University of Brussels and consultant at the department of psychiatry of the Erasmus University Hospital, Brussels. He is the Director of the “Institute for Family and Human Systems Studies” (Brussels) as well as of “ELKAIM FORMATIONS” (Paris), the President of the French speaking section of the “Belgian Group of Systemic Psychotherapists Trainers” and of the “Training Institutes Chambers” of EFTA, and the Honorary President of the European Association for Psychotherapy (EAP – Vienna). He is also an approved supervisor under the Founders Track of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, the Director of the Journal “Cahiers Critiques de Thérapie Familiale et de Pratiques de Réseaux” (ed. De Boeck, Belgium) and the author of numerous publications.

Jacques Pluymaekers

one of managers and trainers at the Institute of Family and Human Systems Studies (IEFSH)


Jacques Pluymaekers is a Psychologist and Family Therapist. He is one of managers and trainers at the Institute of Family and Human Systems Studies (Institut d’Études de la Famille et des Systèmes Humains – IEFSH), created by Mony Elkaïm in 1978. He is also President of the “Networks and Families” (Réseaux et Familles) Association in Montpellier, part-time lecturer at Higher Social Education in Namur, Belgium, and Scientific Adviser at the Criminology School at the Catholic University of Louvain. In addition, he is Honorary President of the European Family Therapy Association (EFTA).

Wendel Ray

Professor of Family System Theory; Marriage and Family Therapy and Systemic Studies Programs

Palo Alto Group : essential principles in systemic therapy

Fundamental concepts central to present day systemic practice will be described in this brief presentation. The connection between present day systemic practice and research conducted during the 1950s and 1960s by the Palo Alto Group and the Mental Research Institute (MRI) will be outlined. Contributions of Palo Alto Group members Gregory Bateson, Don Jackson MD, John Weakland, Jay Haley and William Fry, Richard Fisch, Paul Watzlawick, Virginia Satir and others will be featured.


Wendel A. Ray, PhD, is Spyker Endowed Chair and Professor of Family System Theory; Marriage and Family Therapy and Systemic Studies Programs; School of Health Professions; College of Health and Pharmaceutical Sciences; The University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM); Director of the Don D. Jackson Archive; Senior Research Fellow, Mental Research Institute (MRI).

Sophie Suberville

Director of MRI

MRI: where are we today?

The presentation will introduce what has changed, what we are doing and where we are heading.


Sophie Suberville has an MS in Counseling Psychology and an MBA, and is Director of MRI since July 2014.

Jana Sutton

Program Director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Face to Face Programs at the University of Louisiana at Monroe


Dr. Jana Sutton is Program Director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Face to Face Programs at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. She is a Louisiana Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, State Approved Supervisor and AAMFT Approved Supervisor.

She is also a Louisiana Licensed Professional Counselor and State Approved Supervisor. Dr. Sutton has written and presented on systemic approaches to therapy and supervision. Her research is predominantly qualitative in nature and her areas of expertise include: MFT training, systemic approaches to therapy and supervision, ethics, sexual abuse, self-harm, suicide prevention, domestic violence, substance abuse, and collaboration with the legal system.

Giorgio Nardone

Director of the Postgraduate School of Brief Psychotherapy, Arezzo

The self, the other and the world: a constant systemic interaction requiring strategic capabilities

No one can avoid to relate at the same time with himself, the other and the world. This is an unavoidable systemic context. To manage this continuous complex interactions, strategic capabilities appear to be the best practice.


Giorgio Nardone is Director of the Postgraduate School of Brief Psychotherapy, Arezzo, Italy as well as of the School of Managerial Training in Communication and Strategic Problem Solving, Arezzo and Florence, Italy. He is also a Co-founder of the Centro di Terapie Strategica where he works as a psychotherapist, a professor and a researcher. He has authored and co-authored several publications.

Jean-Jacques Wittezaele

Co-founder of the Gregory Bateson Institute and Director of “Ecology of the Mind”.

The systemic and strategic operative diagnosis (DOSS)

How do we pinpoint the elementary interactional processes that take place, based on a circular logic, to form the stable and dysfunctional equilibriums that we call “mental disorders”? Presentation of a therapeutic model that incorporates an overall, systemic vision and a strategic method of intervention that takes account of individual specific features (perception/reaction systems).


Jean-Jacques Wittezaele is a Doctor of Psychology, Psychotherapist, Co-founder of the Gregory Bateson Institute and Director of “Ecology of the Mind”. He is the author, in particular, of L’homme relationnel, A la recherche de l’école de Palo Alto (with T. Garcia) and Une logique des troubles mentaux (with G. Nardone).

Ilka Hoffmann-Bisinger

Founder and Director of iska-berlin, Institute For Systemic Brief Therapy, Counselling And Training in Berlin

Internal images : a missing link in systemic therapy?

This presentation demonstrates the use of internal images in systemic therapy, reflects the power of their analogical language and discusses the underrepresentation of internal images in the systemic therapy room.


Dr. Ilka Hoffmann-Bisinger, is a Psychologist, Founder and Director of iska-berlin, Institute For Systemic Brief Therapy, Counselling And Training in Berlin. She works there as a trainer, psychotherapist, coach and supervisor and also teaches at other systemic institutes nationally and internationally. She has developed EAI Brief Therapy at the Mental Research Institute (Palo Alto, USA), where she was part of the Brief Therapy Centre for almost three years, conducted an own research project and was elected as Research Associate of the MRI. For her research, Ilka Hoffmann-Bisinger was awarded the scientific “Sponsoring Prize of the German Systemic Society 2007.” She is the author of the book “Changing Perspective – Changing Solutions. Activating Internal Images for Change in Systemic Brief Therapy“ (2007, Heidelberg: Carl-Auer Verlag).

Stefan Geyerhofer

Co-Director of the Institute for Systemic Therapy, Vienna

Taming the monsters : externalization of problems and its application in systemic psychotherapy, counselling and psychoeducation.

Based on the work of Michael White and David Epston, Stefan Geyerhofer will present methods of separating the person from the problem with the goal to unify the family in their battle against problems and illnesses. New and creative variations of these techniques will be demonstrated along with their application in Systemic Therapy, Counselling and Psychoeducation.


Stefan Geyerhofer is a Clinical Psychologist, Health Psychologist, Psychotherapist (Systemic Therapy), Co-founder of the Institute for Systemic Therapy (IST) in Vienna, Austria; Co-director at the Central European Institute for Systemic Therapy in Vienna; from 1993 to 2013, Adj. Prof. Of Psychology at Webster University, Supervising Therapist at the Austrian Association for Systemic Therapy and Systemic Studies (ÖAS); Co-founder and Member of the Board in the European Network for Brief Strategic and Systemic Therapy.

Abbas Makké

Professor of Fundamental and Systemic Psychopathology at the “Ecole Doctorale à l’Université Libanaise”


Abbas Makké is Vice-president of the WCP, the Machreq representative, President of the “Société des Praticiens en Psychothérapie et Consultants (SPPC)” and President of the “Tabyeen Center”. He is also a Member if the “EAP” and “FF2P”, a Member of the Central Committee of Research at the Lebanese University and Professor of Fundamental and Systemic Psychopathology at the “Ecole Doctorale à l’Université Libanaise”.

Camillo Loriedo

Professor of Psychiatry at the School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rome “La Sapienza”

Toward a theory of simplicity: from the dysfunctional systems’ complications to the complex therapeutic simplifications

Difficulty to bring in therapeutic change in complex systems might often be due to a misunderstood conception of complexity theory as a set of unnecessary complications. In reality, since simplicity is not the opposite of complexity but of complication, we can argue that systemic family therapy can be described as how to overcome complications through establishing a harmonic interchange between complexity and simplicity. Suggestions and clinical examples on how to use simple interventions to obtain complex change will be offered.


Camillo Loriedo MD, PhD, is Professor of Psychiatry at the School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, and Director of the inpatients and outpatients Unit of Psichiatry and Eating Disorders, of the Hospital Policlinico Umberto I°, in Rome. Since 1998, he is Member of the Board of Directors of the Milton Erickson Foundation (Phoenix, Arizona) as well as President of the Società Italiana Milton Erickson (SIME-Italian Milton Erickson Society). He is also Founder and President of the Società Italiana di Psicoterapia (SIPSIC-Italian Society of Psychotherapy). Prof. Loriedo is Scientific and Training Director of the Istituto Italiano di Psicoterapia Relazionale of Rome, as well as Scientific and Training Director of the Scuola Italiana di Ipnosi e Psicoterapia Ericksoniana of Rome. In 2001 he has been awarded the Milton H. Erickson Lifetime Achivement Award for outstanding contribution to the field of Psychotherapy. He has authored over 350 scientific papers and 30 books.

Alain Marteaux

Psychiatric Social Worker. He is a Systemic Therapist, Hypnotherapist and Psychodramatist


Alain Marteaux is a Psychiatric Social Worker. He is a Systemic Therapist, Hypnotherapist and Psychodramatist. He is also a trainer in systemic therapy at the Institute for Family and Human Systems Studies (Dr Elkaim) and at the Institute of Training in Mental Health in Brussels.

David Hale

Assistant Professor in the face-to-face MFT Programs at the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM)

Systems theory: epistemology not technique

This presentation will address systems theory and its perception in the practice of marriage and family therapy today. As the profession has evolved, for many, systems theory is being viewed not as a profoundly alternative epistemology, but rather as just another technique. It seems as if systems theory is getting swept under the rug. As new treatment models are appearing on the landscape, the systemically based foundational approaches are becoming more and more overlooked. It is the intent of this presentation to reignite an interest in systems theory to continue to promote its place as an epistemology/way of knowing.


Dr. David Hale currently serves as an Assistant Professor in the face-to-face MFT Programs at the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM) as well as serves as the Director of the Online MFT PhD program at ULM. He graduated with his PhD from Nova University in Ft. Lauderdale, FL in 1993 and since that time has served as a clinician in a variety of settings including, in-home, community mental health, EAP, university clinic, and private practice. He is a clinical fellow of AAMFT as well as an approved supervisor. He is currently licensed as a MFT in both Mississippi and Louisiana. He is also an approved LMFT supervisor in both Mississippi and Louisiana.

Kyriaki Polychroni

Psychologist, Systemic Family and Group Psychotherapist, and Trainer

Emotions as the ‘Heart of the Matter’ in couple and family therapy: focusing on the ‘Within’ and the ‘Between’

According to the more traditional systemic perspective, emotion was generally viewed as an individual phenomenon that does not need to be primed in order to modify interactions – a view that led our field to an artificial dichotomy of the “within” emotional experience and the “between” processes of relating. It is now evident that the power of rigid negative interaction patterns, with which we systemic therapists are familiar, does not simply entail interpersonal homeostasis or systemic coherence but, rather, is primed and maintained by powerful, attachment-related affect that reflects our basic sense of security in the world. In this presentation, Kyriaki Polychroni will bring attention to the importance of integrating these intrapsychic realities in our work as therapists – I.e. the necessity to focus on the emotional experience of attachment, on how it is constructed and processed. By utilizing this emotional experience as feedback loops into couples’/families’ patterns of relating, the systemic therapist honors the principles of wholeness and context and is able to more fully comprehend distressed interactions and to more effectively facilitate their restructuring.


Kyriaki Protopsalti–Polychroni is a Psychologist, Systemic Family and Group Psychotherapist, and Trainer. She is a Certified Couple Therapist, Supervisor and Trainer, specialized in Attachment and Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). Ms Polychroni is a long-standing member of the Scientific Council of the Athenian Institute of Anthropos in Greece, the first center to practice family therapy in Europe. She trains and supervises professionals in Couple and Family Therapy throughout Europe. She is a founding Member of the European Family Therapy Association (EFTA) and the Association’s Immediate Past President. She is also currently the Vice-Chair of the Chamber of Training Institutes (EFTA-TIC). Kyriaki Polychroni is a Member of the American Family Therapy Academy (AFTA), former Vice-President of the national branch of the European Association of Psychotherapists (E.A.P.), Founding Member of the Hellenic Association of Systemic Therapy. Since 2008, Ms Polychroni is Joint Editor of “Human Systems: The European Journal of Therapy, Consultation and Training.

Edith Goldbeter

Honorary Professor at the Free University of Brussels (ULB)

The presence of absent in therapy

The presentation will underline the fact that practicing as a systemic family therapist does not only imply to interact with those present at the session. As a family is never « complete », the therapist has to remain sensitive to the place of absents. These silent ghosts sometimes play a key role in the therapeutic system. The presented approach uses emotional resonances around absence and questions the therapist’s place in the therapeutic system and the way to use it to induce change in the family.


Edith Goldbeter is Doctor in Psychology, Honorary Professor at the Free University of Brussels (ULB), Director of the training at the Institute for Family and Human Systems Studies (Brussels), Member of ELKAIM FORMATIONS, Editor of the Cahiers critiques de thérapie familiale et de pratiques de réseaux. She is Founding Member of EFTA (European Family Therapy Association), of ABIPFS (Belgian Association for Systemic Family Intervention and Psychotherapy) and of the Belgian Group of Systemic Psychotherapists Trainers. She supervises and trains in different countries and wrote numerous articles and books.

Pierre Asselin

social worker and systemic approach Psychotherapist


Pierre Asselin is a social worker and systemic approach Psychotherapist. He has worked in child psychiatry, substance abuse and intellectual impairment, and at youth centres. In his private practice, he trains and supervises parties from the various sectors identified above. He works with couples, families and individuals.

Linda Roy

Social worker, Marital Therapist and Psychotherapist

Serious Illness, a moment of relationship crisis

When illness occurs, our relationship with life is disrupted; the crisis goes beyond the person of the patient and starts to affect those around him or her and also the carers. Everyone, both the patient and those close to him or her, is prompted to take a fresh look at their experience. How do we guide them? Challenges and issues for the systemic approach.


Linda Roy is a social worker, Marital Therapist and Psychotherapist. She is Co-Director of the Human Systems Study Group (Groupe d’Études des Systèmes Humains – GESH) in Montréal, a regional social worker in the Montérégie Cancer Network, the Integrated Centre for Health and Social Services (Centre Intégré de Santé et de Services Sociaux – CISSS) at the Montérégie Centre and President of the National Committee for the development of Psychosocial Practices in Oncology. In the Montérégie Cancer Network, she handles the training and supervision of psychosocial care-providers in Montérégie working in oncology, while also working actively on the introduction of support practices for providers and interdisciplinary work.

Isabelle Meignant

Psychologue, Psychothérapeute, Thérapeute Familiale et Systémique, et Formatrice EMDR Europe

Working with the EMDR systemic model in couple therapy

Combining Mony Elkaïm’s reciprocal double bind systemic model with Francine Shapiro’s Adaptive Information Processing EMDR model opens new perspectives for couple therapy. This presentation will aim at showing how the EMDR model can contribute to yield flexibility to the world view of each of the partners involved in the couple problem. Once we have understood the special dance of the couple and the reciprocal double bind its members are trapped in, and discovered how the partners’ personal history is contributing to reinforce their current problem, we will see how the EMDR approach can help these dysfunctional stored memories to be integrated, hence freeing each partner from the vicious circle in which they are being kept.


Psychologist, Psychotherapist and Family Systemic Therapist, Isabelle Meignant is working in private practice.  She is an EMDR Europe Trainer heading the École Française de Psychothérapie EMDR ( and the President of the Association “Action EMDR Trauma” ( Trained in family systemic therapy with Mony Elkaïm, she works with patients of all ages, in individual, couple and family therapy. In her work she integrates the EMDR approach based on the Adaptive Information Processing model, AIP, with the use of the systemic model based on Mony Elkaïm’s model. With his help she developed for couples’ work, the EMDR Systemic model, an integrative approach, based on his model. She is the author of the book “Buddy the dog’s EMDR” illustrated by her sister Cécile and translated in English, Spanish and German, the book.

Geneviève Platteau

Psychologist and systemic and analytical individual family psychotherapist


Geneviève Platteau is a psychologist and systemic and analytical individual family psychotherapist. She is a family therapy trainer at IEFSH (Institute of Family and Human Systems Studies), at ULB (Université Libre de Bruxelles – Brussels Open University) in Senegal and Lebanon, as well as an infant and child therapy trainer at ULB. She worked for 20 years at the Mental Health Centre in La Louvière and Anderlecht, before managing the systemic team in ULB’s Mental Health Department. She currently works as a family therapist in the child psychiatry department at Huderf (Queen Fabiola Children’s Hospital) and in private practice.

Peter Rober

Professor in Clinical Psychology at the Institute for Family and Sexuality Studies, Faculty of Medicine, University of Leuven

The family members’ feedback and the alliance in family therapy

In family therapy, forming a good therapeutic alliance with all family members is a challenge for the therapist. Systematically making room for the different family members’ feedback on the therapy process can be very helpful.


Peter Rober is Full Professor in Clinical Psychology at the Institute for Family and Sexuality Studies, Faculty of Medicine, University of Leuven, and Director of Context – Centre of Marital and Family Therapy at UPC KU Leuven. He coordinates the Postgraduate Training in Marital and Family Therapy (KU Leuven). Prof. Rober’s primary research interests focus on family therapy with children, on the therapy process, and secrecy in families.

Per Jensen

Professor at the Master Program in Family Therapy and Systemic Practice at VID Specialized University, Oslo, Norway

Mind the Map: circular processes between the therapist, the client, and the therapist’s personal life

Per Jensen is looking for the patterns that connect narratives from our own personal and private life with narratives from systemic family therapy. This is about life histories and therapeutic practice. This is a presentation of The Map of Resonance.


Per Jensen, D SysPsych. (PhD), is Professor at the Master Program in Family Therapy and Systemic Practice at VID Specialized University, Oslo, Norway. He has a doctorate in systemic psychotherapy from Tavistock Centre/ University of East London, UK. He has written several textbooks and articles in the field of family therapy, psychotherapy and mental health.

Tabara Sylla

Head of Psychiatrics at Dakar Principal Hospital in Senegal

The family in therapy in Senegal : from Collomb's ethnopsychiatry to family therapy

The practice of Collomb’s ethnopsychiatry is based on a family or society-based system in which the designated patient carries symptoms of collective suffering. As a result, caring for an individual also includes caring for his or her entourage and especially requires the use of family skills. This concept, which is similar to family therapy, partly explains the unprompted and “natural” support of Senegalese psychiatrists for the system approach. We propose to steer between these two approaches, going from resonances to divergences in clinical practice, while still retaining a degree of complementarity that gives significant room to the creativity of Senegalese therapists.


Tabara Sylla Diallo is Head of Psychiatrics at Dakar Principal Hospital in Senegal.

She is a Doctor of medicine, 1999, Dakar Cheikh Anta Diop University, a former psychiatry intern at Dakar Hospitals, 1997, Dakar Cheikh Anta Diop University, a specialist in psychiatry, 2003, Diploma in Specialised Psychiatric Studies, Dakar Cheikh Anta Diop University. She is also an addictologist, with an interuniversity diploma in addictology from Kremlin-Bicêtre, Paris in 2007, she was awarded a level 1 and 2 epidemiology training certificate from the Institute of Health and Development (ISED) at Dakar Cheikh Anta Diop University in 2011 and as a Psychotherapist, she gained a diploma in systemic and family therapy in 2012 from the Association Belgo-Sénégalaise and in systemic and family therapy from Dakar Cheikh Anta Diop University.

Amina Bargach

Systemic Child Psychiatrist and Family Therapist


Amina Bargach is a Systemic Child Psychiatrist and Family Therapist. She is a former President of the Moroccan Association for the Research and Systemic Treatment of the Family and Other Human Systems. She provides training on the systemic approach and supervises in social risk contexts in Morocco and in other countries (current migrations, underage migrants, etc.).

Anne Dall’Asta

Child Psychiatrist, Family Therapist

The child with autism : contribution of the systemic approach and of family therapy to help the child and the family

The families of children with autism often live cut off from the world and the place of siblings is frequently disrupted. Dr Dall’Asta will explain how she uses the systemic tool to break through this isolation and enable everyone to rediscover their place.


Anne Dall’Asta is a Child Psychiatrist, Family Therapist, the former Department Head, then Head of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Centre (Pôle de Psychiatrie de l’Enfant et de l’Adolescent) at CHS in Jury-les-Metz (Moselle, France), with responsibility for a day hospital for children with autism, presenter of the induction seminar for family discussion and systemic family therapy at the Faculty of Medicine in Nancy.

Rodolfo de Bernart

Director of Istituto di Terapia Familiare di Firenze

The Fosbury Flop: how to connect systems, attachment and implicit relational knowing trough images

May the DMM Attachment Theory by Pat Crittenden (which is dyadic) be connected with Systemic Theory by Bateson (which is triadic) in the Explicit Agenda of the therapist and coordinated trough Images and Non Verbal Communication with the Implicit Agenda proposed by Daniel Stern in his “Present Moment”? A new model SRI (Systemic Relational Implicit) is proposed and discussed.


Rodolfo de Bernart MD is a Psychiatrist. He is the Director of Istituto di Terapia Familiare di Firenze, Professor of Family Therapy in Scuola di Specializzazione in Psichiatria dell’Università di Siena and Past President of Società Italiana di Terapia Familiare. He is also a Founding member of EFTN (European Family Therapy Network), then EFTA, since 1985, Ordinary Member of EFTA (European Family Therapy Association) since its foundation (1990) and Member of the Board of EFTA NFTO as well as PastPresident of EAP (European Association of Psychotherapies) and President of IASA (International Association for the Study of Attachment).

Myriam Cassen

Manager at the Michel Montaigne Institute

Family therapy and attachment

The work conducted recently in neurosciences shows us the point to which the Attachment Theory has become an essential element for understanding the development of individuals. Family therapy has always taken account of the complexity of situations: individuals in their development, individuals in their systems and contexts. My contribution will attempt to show how the Attachment Theory can be used as part of family therapy.


Myriam Cassen is a Clinical Psychologist, Family and Couple Therapist, Addictologist, manager at the Michel Montaigne Institute, Family and Couple Therapy Centre, Member of EFTA.

Jean-Michel Delile

Vice-président de la Fédération Addiction et Directeur Général du CEID

How to support families confronted to an addiction problem

Families are at the heart of addiction problems; they are often the first victims of it and, at the same time, family problems can be among the main causal factors of people becoming addicted and that addiction becoming chronic. Victims or villains: two representations that limit the implication of families and the dependent person in their guidance and care. This means it is a matter of supporting families and helping them to develop new solutions together. This dynamic is developed in care centres in France, based on validated methods.


Jean-Michel Delile is a Psychiatrist and Anthropologist, he has specialised in the field of addictions since 1986. Vice President of the Addiction Federation and General Manager of CEID (one of the leading managers of addiction care centres in France), he is an important figure in this field in France. Trained in systemic therapy by Mony Elkaïm (1990), he has made a significant contribution to the development of family-based approaches to “addictology”. He is the author of over a hundred scientific articles and sections in collective works. He is a member of the National Narcotics Commission at the National Drug Safety Agency (Agence Nationale de Sécurité des Médicaments – ANSM).