Institute For Dialogic Practice Institute For Dialogic Practice

What People Are Saying

The Institute For Dialogic Practice, Open Dialogue, Dialogic Practice, dialogical, dialogical approach, mental health care, healing psychosis, depression, psychosis, fidelity, new york society for ethical culture, psychotherapy, open dialogue Finland, client centered psychotherapy, Mary Olson

The following are comments about Mary’s lectures:

“The feedback from the community has been uniformly positive.  It ranges from, ‘We need twenty Grand Rounds like this!’ to ‘Thirty years ago, this is what we did at Mass Mental. It’s good to hear it’s coming back!”

Gordon Harper, MD
Harvard Medical School

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“I am not exaggerating when I say that this was the best annual conference lecture I’ve heard in a great many years – a sentiment I heard repeated by many in the audience.”

Carolyn S. du Bois, MSW
Smith College School for Social Work

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“The evaluations for your presentation were very positive. Attendees expressed an interest in incorporating the principles of Open Dialogue into their practice and enjoyed the active listening exercise.”
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Department of Mental Health

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The following are comments from students:

“Professor Olson is an artist when it comes to teaching…”

“Mary has a gift as a teacher.  She clearly has worked very hard to address the diverse learning styles of students in the class. She has incorporated small group, paired work, large group, visual, written, kinsthetic, and auditory means of instruction into her classes. She makes a point for everyone to be heard.  Her teaching is heartfelt and open, leaving room for everyone to come as they are, feeling welcome to contribute.”

“Mary has excellent presence and command of the classroom space.  She is a great facilitator and plays close attention to what’s happening in the present moment of the class. …She effortlessly incorporates issues of oppression, humanity, and diversity into clinical practice. As a result, she has modeled this beautifully for our class.”

“Mary is a gifted professor and brilliant clinician. I treasured each and every class.”

The following are comments from trainees’ evaluations of our trainings:

“This was an extremely enriching experience. It has pushed me to question more and more about the way that I am in this world, not only the work I do. I also do feel the theoretical and background information Mary has provided was invaluable.”

“I always felt heard and like I could safely share my thoughts.”

“Overall, this training has been an excellent experience. It has begun to shift my sense of myself, both as a person and as a professional, towards a way of being that is more natural and genuine than any other approach to “being with” and helping others I have learned. I am glad we were able to speak of the issues that threaten to divide us. It is so important to be true to the dialogical principles.”

“Mary is an eloquent speaker and presenter. Obviously very, very knowledgeable and so approachable.”

“I came to this training with very few expectations. Being new to me, I had no clear idea of what would transpire. The training has been instructive and transformative. The use of the principles of Open Dialogue, along with the instruction in dialogical practice, have and will continue to shape my professional and personal self. While initially uncomfortable to observe, the presence of real families during the 4th session was magical. I learned far more from this than I ever expected to. I cherish their willingness to share their lives, stories, strengths and struggles with us. I am grateful for the opportunity to be in this training with this team, and with all of the trainees. The presence of Bob Whitaker, Peter Rober, Jaakko, and Markku was so meaningful, and again, transformative. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

“I’m changed!”

“I learned so much more than I could possibly write in this space [about] the elements of dialogical practice and 7 principles of the network meeting. I truly want to thank you for an amazing experience. I look forward to what comes next.”

“I learned what excellence in therapy looks like from Peter and Mary. [I was surprised] by many personal and family insights, how emotional it was to witness the sessions [and] how much love and commitment were present in each family.”

“I learned a new way to think, to speak, to listen and to work. Incorporating these new things seems to make for a more complete [sense] of wholeness [in my work].”

“THANK YOU for making this way of working possible for us!!!!!”

“I found Peter Rober to be a phenomenal trainer/presenter and invaluable to the learning process. I would love to hear more from him.”

“Overall, this was an outstanding training. […] there were some administrative glitches. [But] again, the overall experience was incredible, truly inspiring, and life changing. While there is a list of suggestions above, I hope this is viewed in the context of a very solid, important, extraordinary training.”

“Jaakko [was] fantastic. It was also really great to talk about poor outcomes and the limitations of Open Dialogue. The family session was incredibly helpful—watching the trainers weave theoretical skills into actual live sessions was great to see…the program matches my learning style well.”

“Overall this training has been extraordinary.”

“I really loved the training. In all the years [ahead], I will be trying to work [and] live with the [importance of] meaning making.”

“This training has been so useful, inspiring and important to me. Thank you for having such a patient and respectful way of teaching. I really feel like I have grown so much in this training, and I love thinking about how many individuals and families with be touched by the work done in this group.”

“Thank you all for sharing your love and passion for this work. It came through along with your humanness.”

“It was beautiful to watch Mary interview the family. She put into practice everything she has been trying to teach us.”

“I have valued this experience on both a professional and personal level. You have a very special way of helping everyone in the room feel valued and safe. Thank you for that. And please pass on to Peter, Jaakko, Birgitta, and Markku what a pleasure it has been to have them here.”

“Great training, Mary!”

“The way Mary worked with the family was masterful!”

“Dr. Rober’s teaching and articles were superb.”

“This was a wonderful learning experience! I have never been more excited to put something into practice!”

“I am happier as a person and my relationship with my wife and son have also improved. Perhaps this is partly the result of the resonance that I have felt throughout my experience here. My work is such a central part of my identity as a human being and Open Dialogue has reinforced and enhanced my sense of fulfillment in my career. I feel very fortunate to have this experience and look forward to further training.”

“I am very thankful for this experience: the people I have met, the wonderful learning and collaborating and for the hope I now truly embrace that there is a chance for change in treating individual and families in the U.S.”

“The training was wonderful. I most appreciated learning from watching live family work. I feel honored to be a part of this and look forward to the future of possibilities and change.”

“Mary is a dynamic speaker with a very strong command of, and enthusiasm about, the course content. She was able to effectively engage with and appeal to a diverse body of students, despite difference in learning styles, professional ideologies, and personalities.”

“Despite my list of ways to improve the training, it was life changing, and I loved it!”

“I feel beyond humbled and thankful for the opportunity to have been taught by Mary and her peers. Thank you, Mary. I feel challenged in a beautiful and thrilling way to try and not just learn dialogical practice, but also to live it.”

“Overall really excellent and often view-changing; Of course the room got a little warm….”

“The course is excellent. The pace was very good. Role plays and consultations were enormously helpful.”

“Mary is an inspiration!”

“This was a profound experience for me. At different times, I found myself humbled, excited and intrigued by this new way of thinking and being. I feel I have just begun a path of learning and look forward to the next leg of the journey.”

“This was a fantastic opportunity and a great experience. We overcame some extreme challenges from the weather. The final week with Jaakko, Markku and Mary was a feast.”

“Overall, excellent. The elements I learned have already transformed my practice and my life.”

“The training was excellent. It allowed for many opportunities for me to learn and grow as a clinician as well as a person. Deep listening, being with, and creating connections are just a few of the skills I have developed from taking this training. Thank you, Mary, for sharing your knowledge and excitement about the subject.”

“Mary is fabulous. Great pacing—not too fast, knowledgeable, well organized and a perfect balance of lecture, small group, discussion and experiential. Also she was very validating of the risks/choices of the volunteers.”


Institute Faculty

Clinical Associates


Contact the Institute

Institute Faculty

The Institute For Dialogic Practice, Open Dialogue, Dialogic Practice, dialogical, dialogical approach, mental health care, healing psychosis, depression, psychosis, fidelity, new york society for ethical culture, psychotherapy, open dialogue Finland, client centered psychotherapy, Mary Olson 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 ideas of the Milan School, Tom Andersen, Michael White, M.  Bakthin are extremely important traditions that add a richness to Open Dialogue that I don’t want to see unacknowledged and are beautifully collaged together by Mary Olson.  A real gift for language.

Rebecca Ross, LICSW

Level II Graduate – IDP

Private Practice, New York City

Gender and Family Project Associate, Ackerman Institute for the Family