Where to start reading when it comes to the dialogical approach,
its theory and research?
Here are some key resources.

Choose from a selection of journal articles
and learn more about topics that interest you most.

Collaborative practices

Harlene Anderson:

Harlene Andersone portrait

Collaborative practices
On just 2 pages, Harlene Anderson summarizes 6 basic interrelated assumptions associated with postmodern orientation:

  • maintaining skepticism
  • avoiding a risk of generalisation
  • knowledge as an interactive social process
  • privileging local knowledge
  • language as a creative social process
  • knowledge and language as transforming.

Harlene Anderson:

Notes on Listening, Hearing and Speaking And the Relationship to Dialogue
Harlene asked clients in her hometown and around the world about their descriptions of successful and unsuccessful therapy, about helpful and not so helpful therapists.
The clients spoke of a particular kind of listening, hearing and speaking—therapists’ manners, actions and responses that communicated to clients that they were important and respected and that what they had to say was worth hearing.
Here are Harlene’s notes on the significance of the relationship in dialogue – of therapist’s way of being.

Open Dialogue approach

Jaakko Seikkula:

The Open Dialogue Approach to Acute Psychosis: Its Poetics and Micropolitics
Open Dialogue is a way of working with clients and their social networks. It is now the most effective method in the developed world when it comes to treating acute psychosis. This article summarizes its origins and principles, and includes excerpts from real conversations with clients.

Jaako Seikkula:

Healing Elements of Therapeutic Conversation: Dialogue as an Embodiment of Love
What is actually helping the clients reach a positive change?
Jaako examines actions that support dialogue in conversation, talking about emotional experience, creation of community or finding a new shared language.
He describes how feelings of love signal moments of therapeutic change.

Work with families and couples

Justine van Lawick:

Dialogical and Creative Work with Parents and Children in the Context of High Conflict Divorces
What is the dynamic of fighting couples? How does it influence children in the family? And how to help parents keep the children’s needs in mind? Justine describes her programme of working with families going through a difficult divorce.

Peter Rober:

Constructive hypothesizing, dialogic understanding and the therapist’s inner conversation: Some ideas about knowing and not knowing in the family therapy session
„The primary tasks of the therapist can be described as listening to what the client says and making space for what the client has not yet said,“ writes Peter Rober.
You may have heard that the therapist should keep a not knowing stance in this process. But what exactly does it mean?
Peter explores the question and proposes the concept of constructive hypothesizing.

Olson et al.:

The Shift from Monologue to Dialogue in a Couple Therapy Session: Dialogical Investigation of Change from the Therapists’ Point of View
In this case study you can learn about a couple in therapy with a dialogical therapist. The article describes the ways of helping the partners understand each other better, as well as the qualitative difference between working with a couple and with an individual. The sessions are described together with examples of real conversations.

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