Frank Farrelly

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Frank Farrelly
Born26 August 1931 Edit this on Wikidata
Died10 February 2013 Edit this on Wikidata (aged 81)
EducationMaster of Social Work Edit this on Wikidata
Alma mater
Academic career

Frank Farrelly (26 August 1931 – 10 February 2013[1][2]) was a therapist best known for the 1974 book Provocative Therapy, which advocated radical (and sometimes humorous[3]) therapeutic moves intended to jolt the client out of his current mindset.[4]


Farrelly holds a Master's Degree in Social Work from The Catholic University Of America and is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers. For many years he was a clinical professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Social Work and an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin Medical School.[citation needed] As a social worker in the 1960s he developed his "provocative" theory,[5][6] Provocative Therapy is a system of psychotherapy in which - having established a foundation of compassion, and with the client's permission - the therapist plays the devil's advocate. They will side with the negative half of the client's ambivalence toward his life's goals, his relationships, work, and the structures within which he lives. Client examples include working with obese patients with their weight and eating habits.[7] His methods, though controversial, have attracted worldwide attention.[8] In 2013 Frank Farrelly's son Tim Farrelly passed with Frank's instruction the Frank Farrelly archive to Nick Kemp who continues to promote Farrelly's classic Provocative Therapy as well as his own Provocative Change Works approach in the US, Asia and Europe.


  1. ^ "Home-Frank Farrelly Creator of Provocative Therapy - In Memory". Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
  2. ^ "Farrelly, Frank : Madisondotcom". Retrieved 19 February 2013.
  3. ^ Martin, Rod A. (2010). The Psychology of Humor: An Integrative Approach. Academic Press. pp. 338–. ISBN 9780080465999. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  4. ^ Rogers, Jenny (2008). Coaching Skills: A Handbook. McGraw-Hill International. p. 230. ISBN 9780335225521. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  5. ^ Frittum, Markus (2008). Die Soziale Arbeit und ihr Verhältnis zum Humor: Möglichkeiten humorvoller Intervention im Beratungsgespräch. Springer DE. p. 60. ISBN 9783531913254. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  6. ^ Wake, Lisa; Erickson, Betty Alice (2010). Role of Brief Therapy in Attachment: Disorders. Karnac Books. pp. 18–. ISBN 9781855756977. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  7. ^ "Bad Reichenhall: Zwischen Lebenshunger und Todessehnsucht". Südostbayerische Rundschau (in German). 19 November 2004. Archived from the original on 12 April 2013. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
  8. ^ Dopping, Christel (1 February 2008). "Nya tankar skakas fram". Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 19 February 2013.

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