Luigi Boscolo (1932-2015), one of the Masters of the Systemic field, passed away last January. He was one of the founders of the Milan Team and Centro Milanese di Terapia della Famiglia, worldwide known as “The Milan School”. I was trained in Systemic Family Therapy by him and Gianfranco Cecchin during the 1980s, when their ideas and therapeutic approach began to be known all over the world. Luigi used to travel across three continents, invited as a teacher and supervisor by clinical teams, universities and training centres, and he greatly influenced many therapists in Europe, USA and Australia. At the same time, he was also influenced by the people and their ideas he met during his journeys, being always open to new perspective and new theoretical and therapeutic approaches.
So, every time he came back to Milan bringing us –young trainees– new ideas and new techniques which made our perspective wider, offering us new meanings and concepts, increasing our curiosity and “testing” with us what for him was more innovative or significant. Looking back at that time, I think that he was able to incorporate new epistemological frames (for example, the constructivistic perspective) within the systemic approach he and the Milan Team had developed, keeping and developing the epistemological “core” of the approach, without radical changes every time a new “fashion” came … into the systemic field.
Luigi was a brilliant and generous teacher, a man of wide culture and charisma, and a smart, sensitive and rigorous clinician. He never denied his psychodynamic education, which deeply influenced his clinical sensitivity, enriching his systemic hypothesis and making him be aware of the complex aspects of the therapeutic relationship, much more than other systemic therapists used to. He used to pay much attention to the emotions and feelings which develop within the therapeutic endeavor.
Among his published papers and books, two most important books are “Systemic Therapy with Individuals” and “The Times of Time”, both written in collaboration with Paolo Bertrando. Both are still extremely useful guides for clinicians and therapists, not only of the systemic field.
I remember Luigi with …. infinite gratitude for everything I learned and lived beside him. I would not be what I am now, not only as a psychotherapist but also as a person, without my experience as a trainee and a professional at the Milan School. Luigi’s loss leaves a huge void in our field: an age of great importance has finished, but Luigi’s and Gianfranco’s ideas, thoughts and spirit are still alive and evolving in the hearts and work of the many persons that had the privilege to meet and work with them all over the world.