Dialogic Practice Dialogic Practice

Institute Faculty


Mary Olson, PhD

Mary Olson, Ph.D.

Mary Olson, PhD is the founding director of the Institute for Dialogic Practice. She is a family therapist and communication researcher and scholar, with a  prior background  in literature.

In 2001, Mary was a Fulbright Scholar to the Department of Clinical Psychology at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland where she first studied Finnish “Open Dialogue.”   Since that time, she has specialized in training and  research programs that have established this way of working in the US.  As a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (2011-2017), she was a principal investigator of the first US Open Dialogue study and author of the “The Key Elements of Dialogic Practice in Open Dialogue: Fidelity Criteria” (2014), translated into 10 languages. She has also published widely in international  journals, especially on dialogical transformation in psychotherapy, including “An Auto-ethnographic Study of Open Dialogue: The illumination of Snow,” in Family Process, 2015.  In addition to the Fulbright, her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care.

Mary is a member of the American Academy of Family Therapists and a long-time faculty member of the Smith College School of Social Work.  An international  lecturer, she has given invited talks at Harvard Medical School, Yale University, the University of Helsinki, The Royal Society of Medicine (UK), the University of Bergamo, Italy,  the Women’s College, Beijing, China among other universities. She has also given many conference keynotes, plenaries, and workshops worldwide and been interviewed by The New York TimesPsychology Today and other media outlets. From 1990-1995, she directed the Clinical Externship in Systemic Family Therapy at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

In addition to teaching and training, Mary has many years of clinical experience in college settings and community mental health and maintains a private practice with offices in Northampton, Massachusetts and Manhattan.

After graduating from Wellesley College, Mary earned an MA in English and comparative literature, with high honors, from Columbia University and an MSW from Smith College. She then trained extensively in systemic and postmodern family therapy approaches at the Family Institute of Cambridge and the Ackerman Institute.  She received her PhD from the Department of Communication, with a concentration in interpersonal studies, at the University of Massachusetts where she was the recipient of the prestigious University Fellowship.


Jorma Ahonen, MSc

Jorma Ahonen, MsCJorma Ahonen is a faculty member at the Institute for Dialogic Pracice.  He is a social psychologist and advanced-level psychotherapist from Helsinki, Finland. Originally trained in Need-Adapted Treatment by Alanen, Jorma  is Co-Founder of the Dialogic Co.,in Helsinki, which has been established in order to develop ideas on bothpracticing family therapy and supervising and training family therapists, supervisors and organisation consultants.

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 at the Institute and then  certification as a trainer in Dialogic Practice and Open Dialogue. Nazlim has a private practice in Manhattan where she sees individuals and families and provides psychiatric consultation.

Russell Razzaque, MD

Dr Russell Razzaque - Dialogic PracticeRussell Razzaque trained at the Royal London Hospital in the 1990s and has now worked in psychiatry for nearly 20 years. In this time he has worked for the UK Ministry of Justice, the University of Cambridge, and the National Health Service. He currently works as a Consultant Psychiatrist in northeast London, where he is also Director of Research. Additionally, he currently serves as an elected member of the national governing Council of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and he is a Visiting Professor at London South Bank University.

His particular field of clinical and research interest is mindfulness – which he has been a trainer in for over ten years – and Open Dialogue. He is currently leading a national initiative to bring Peer-Supported Open Dialogue to the National Health Service, coordinating an NIHR -unded multi-centre, randomized-design, controlled trial.  He has also published numerous papers in this area in recent years in peer-reviewed journals.

Russell is a published book author in human psychology.  He has also been a regular contributor to several national and international publications including Psychology Today, The Guardian, The Telegraph and The Independent.

Peter Rober, PhD

Jaakko Seikkula, Ph.D.Peter Rober, PhD is a 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 and published widely in international journals and anthologies on various topics, including the inner dialogue of the therapist, anti-colonizing practices, working with refugees, and loss.  He is the author of several books, including In Therapy Together: Family Therapy as a Dialogue (2017). 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.

Peter is a sought-after presenter and trainer and has given many conference keynotes, plenaries, trainings and workshops on dialogical therapy throughout the world.

He earned his PhD from the Department of Psychology at the University of Leuven, Belgium.

Jaakko Seikkula, PhD

Jaakko Seikkula, Ph.D.Jaakko Seikkula, PhD is a faculty member of the Institute for Dialogic Practice.   From 1981 to 1998, he worked as a clinical psychologis) at Keropudas Hospital in Tornio, Finland.  It was during this time that he, as part of a team, developed Open Dialogue.  From 1998-2018, he was on the faculty of the Department of Psychology at the University of Jyväskylä, becoming a full  professor in 2005 and retiring in 2018.

His ongoing clinical and research interests combine the further development of dialogical approaches with the systematic research analysis of their outcomes and process variables. He has extensive publications in international journals and anthologies, along with several books, including Open Dialogues and Anticipations: Respecting Otherness in the Present Moment (2014), with Tom Erik Arnkil.  His research on “The Relational Mind” was funded by the prestigious Finnish Academy of Scienc.

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 has given many conference keynotes, plenaries, trainings, and workshops on Open Dialogue worldwide and has supported the development of related training and research initiatives in many countries, including Italy, Poland, Germany, Denmark, the UK, Japan, Australia and the United States. His writings have been translated into 14 languages.

In 2016, Seikkula received a lifetime achievement award from the European Family Therapy Association (EFTA) for his development of Open Dialogue and other important research contributions.  His work, together with Tom Erik Arnkil, will also be recognized by “The 2018 AFTA Distinguished Contribution to Family Therapy Theory & Practice Justice Award.”

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

Guest International Trainer

Mia Kurtti, MScMia Kurtti, MSc

Institute Faculty

Dialogic Practice Faculty 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