Mary Olson, PhD is the founder and director of the Institute for Dialogic Practice. She is Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine; a Senior Fulbright Scholar in Clinical Psychology; and a member of the American Academy of Family Therapy. She also served for many years on the teaching faculty of Smith College School for Social Work.
In 2001, Mary was awarded a Fulbright to do research on “Open Dialogue” in Finland while teaching at the University of Jyväskylä. This was a turning point in her teaching and clinical career. Based on that experience and her roots in systemic thinking, she has focused since on developing dialogic-relational training and research programs in the US. From 2011-2017, she co-led the first US Open Dialogue study at University of Massachusetts Medical School. Her research was supported by the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care and the National Science Foundation.
Further, she is a senior international Open Dialogue trainer/supervisor, having taught and supervised in programs in the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Japan, and Mexico..
She has been a lecturer at Harvard Medical School, University of Helsinki, Royal Society of Medicine (UK), University of Bergamo, University of Rome, Women’s College, Beijing, China, Tokyo University and Kyoto University, Japan. She has also given many national conference keynotes, plenaries, and workshops and been interviewed by The New York Times, Psychology Today and other media outlets.
Her publications focus on dialogical transformation in psychotherapy and other topics. See “An Auto-ethnographic Study of Open Dialogue: The illumination of Snow,” in Family Process, 2015 with full list to come. She is the lead author of the “Key Elements of Dialogic Practice in Open Dialogue” (Olson, Seikkula & Ziedonis, 2014), which has been translated into 11 languages.
From 1990-1995, she directed the Clinical Externship in Systemic Family Therapy at the Family Center of Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, Massachusetts under the chairmanship of Carlos Sluzki, MD
She maintains an active private therapy and consulting practice in Connecticut. . She has over 25 years of experience working in college mental health, outpatient psychiatry, and private practice.
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 obtained advanced training in systemic and postmodern family therapy approaches at the Family Institute of Cambridge and the Ackerman Institute, NYC. She received her PhD from the Department of Communication, with a concentration in postmodern philosophy, at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst where she was a recipient of the University Fellowship.
Jorma Ahonen is a faculty member at the Institute for Dialogic Pracice. He is a social psychologist and advanced-level psychotherapist in 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 both practicing family therapy and supervising and training family therapists, supervisors and organizational consultants. He also is a co-director, lecturer and supervisor in Open Dialogue-UK in London.
Nazlim Hagmann, MD is a faculty member at the Institute for Dialogic Practice and a leading psychiatrist and trauma specialist in New York. For many years, she worked in public, community settings before establishing a well-respected private practice in Manhattan 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.
In her private practice in Manhattan, Nazlim sees individuals and families and provides psychiatric consultation.
Russell Razzaque is a faculty member at the Institute for Dialogic Practice and an internationally-recognized psychiatrist and researcher in the UK. He is currently leading a national initiative in the UK, “Peer-Supported Open Dialogue to the National Health Service,” coordinating an NIHR -funded multi-centre, randomized-design, controlled trial.
He trained at the Royal London Hospital in the 1990s. Since then, 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.
He also has a clinical and research interest is mindfulness – in which he has been a trainer for over ten years.
Russell has published numerous academic papers as well as books on spirituality. He is a regular contributor to several national and international media outlets including Psychology Today, The Guardian, The Telegraph and The Independent.
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 an internationally-recognized 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 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 Science.
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.
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).
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.
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