Contextual psychotherapy is a therapeutic approach that emphasizes the importance of understanding individuals in the context of their relationships and family systems. The approach was developed by Hungarian-American family therapist Ivan Boszormenyi-Nagy in the 1970s, and gained popularity in the 1980s in New York City and other parts of the United States.
During the 1980s, New York City was a hub for the development and dissemination of a variety of therapeutic approaches, including contextual psychotherapy. This period saw the emergence of a number of influential therapists and theorists, many of whom were associated with the Ackerman Institute for the Family, which was founded in 1960.
At the Ackerman Institute and other institutions in New York, therapists and scholars were exploring the complex dynamics of family systems, and developing innovative approaches to therapy that emphasized the importance of relational and systemic factors. Contextual psychotherapy, with its emphasis on the role of family systems and the importance of relational ethics, was one of the approaches that gained traction during this time.
During the 1980s, contextual psychotherapy was also influenced by developments in related fields, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and systemic therapy. Therapists working in the contextual psychotherapy tradition integrated these and other approaches into their work, developing a range of techniques and strategies for helping individuals and families address a variety of mental health and relational issues.
Today, contextual psychotherapy continues to be an important approach to therapy, with practitioners and training programs located around the world. Its emphasis on the importance of relationships and family systems, and its focus on relational ethics, continue to be influential in the field of psychotherapy.