Dialogic Practice Dialogic Practice

Institute Faculty

Mary Olson, PhD

Mary Olson, Ph.D.

Mary Olson, PhD is the Director of the Institute for Dialogic Practice. She is also on the faculty of the Smith College School of Social Work.

Since 2001, Mary has specialized in creating training and research programs that have established Dialogic Practice and Open Dialogue in the United States. She was a co-principal investigator of the first Open Dialogue research study at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and wrote “The Key Elements of Dialogic Practice in Open Dialogue,” which has been translated into many languages..

From 2001 to 2002, Mary was a senior Fulbright Scholar to Finland in the Department of Clinical Psychology at the University of Jyvaskyla. Prior to that, from 1990 to 1995, she was Director of the Clinical Externship in Systemic Family Therapy at Berkshire Medical Center, a position she held during the chairmanship of Carlos Sluzki, M.D.

Her scholarship and research examine dialogical transformation in psychotherapy, the effects of larger systems (managed care), anorexia as communication, and the use of writing in therapy.  She has published numerous book chapters and articles in international journals.

An international lecturer, Mary has been an invited speaker at Harvard Medical School, Yale University, Smith College, University of Massachusetts Medical School, the University of Helsinki, The Royal Society of Medicine, London, and the University of Bergamo, Italy among other universities, colleges and organizations. She has given keynotes, plenaries and workshops at conferences in the US and Europe. She has also been interviewed for The New York Times and other media outlets.

In addition, a practicing psychotherapist and family therapist for many years, Mary is a member of the American Academy of Family Therapists and has a private practice in Northampton, Massachusetts.

After graduating from Wellesley College, Mary earned an M.A. in English and comparative literature with high honors from Columbia University and an M.S.W. from Smith College.  She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Communication at the University of Massachusetts where she was a University Fellow.

Jaakko Seikkula, PhD

Jaakko Seikkula, Ph.D.Jaakko Seikkula, PhD is a senior faculty member of the Institute for Dialogic Practice and a professor of psychotherapy at the University of Jyvaskyla, Finland. From 1981 to 1998, he was the chief psychologist at Keropudas Hospital in Tornio, Finland.  It was during this time that he developed Open Dialogue.

His clinical and research interests combine the further development of dialogical approaches with the systematic research analysis of their outcomes and process variables.  He is a consultant tof the Open Dialogue  study at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Jaakko leads the International Meeting for Treatment of Psychosis Network and is a board member of the International Family Therapy Association (IFTA).  He is also a member of the American Family Therapy Academy, the Society of Psychotherapy Research and the International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis (ISPS).

He earned his PhD from the Department of Psychology at the University of Jyvaskyla, Finland.

Peter Rober, PhD

Jaakko Seikkula, Ph.D.Peter Rober, PhD is a Senior Faculty member at the Institute for Dialogic Practice.  He is also a professor of family therapy at the Institute for Family and Sexuality Studies at the University of Leuven, Belgium and a clinical psychologist, family therapist and family therapy trainer at Context: The Center for Marital and Family Therapy (UPC KU Leuven, Belgium).

Peter has made key contributions to the development of dialogical therapy. His research interest areas focus on the practice of family therapy and on the therapy process, including especially the self of the therapist and the therapist’s inner conversation.  Every year in August he organizes the European Summer School in Family Therapy in Leuven (Belgium) together with Jaakko Seikkula, John Shotter, Justine van Lawick and Jim Wilson.

Nazlim Hagmann, MD

Dialogic PracticeNazlim Hagmann, MD is a Faculty member at the Insitute for Dialogic Practice. For many years, she worked in public, community settings before entering private practice in New York City in 2008. Throughout her career she has been interested in learning, understanding and working in alternative ways with people in extreme states.

Nazlim earned her medical degree at Albert Ludwigs University, in Freiburg, Germany, did her residency training at SUNY Downstate and Albert Einstein University, and completed a fellowship in public psychiatry at Columbia University. She has a Master’s degree in Public Health from Heinrich Heine University, in Duesseldorf, Germany and a Certificate in Trauma Studies from New York University. In 2013, she completed the two-year training in Dialogic Practice at the Institute. Nazlim sees families and provides psychiatric consultation at the Institute.

Jorma Ahonen, MSc

Jorma Ahonen, MsCJorma Ahonen is a Social Psychologist and Advanced Level Psychotherapist from Helsinki, Finland. He is co-founder of the Dialogic Co., which was established in order to develop ideas on both practicing family therapy and supervising and training family therapists, supervisors and organisation consultants.

Institute Faculty

Jorma Ahonen, MsC, Nazlim Hagmann, MD, Mary Olson, PhD, Jaakko Seikkula, PhD, and Peter Rober, PhD The Institute is the only North American teaching facility that specializes in providing world-class training in Open Dialogue and Dialogic Practice delivered by the field’s leading experts and developers.

Institute Faculty

The agency where I am Medical Director, Advocates Inc., a non-profit based in Framingham, Massachusetts, supported a project to train a team of 35 people over three years in Dr. Olson’s Institute. Our experience has been transformational, both for those of us who have had the direct experience of learning from Mary and her amazing faculty, and for the individuals and families we’ve served since undertaking this process. All of us feel that this is the best work that we have ever done, and that if any one of us or anyone we loved were touched by madness or other emotional distress, this is the model we’d most desire. Over and over again we have heard from the people and families we’ve served that this, finally, is what they have been seeking. As one mother of a young person we serve remarked, “In all of US psychiatry, this is the only model that makes sense!” To be able to learn from Mary and directly from the people who developed Open Dialogue in Finland has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.’

Christopher Gordon, M.D.

Level II Graduate – IDP

Medical Director, Advocates, Inc.

Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry,

Harvard Medical School