Beyond polyphony: Open Dialogue in a Women’s Shelter in Australia as a possibility for supporting violence-informed practice

Lisa Dawson, Rochelle Einboden, Andrea McCloughen, Niels Buus

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Open Dialogue is a family/social network-centered psychotherapeutic approach to responding to people in crisis and distress. In 2017, Open Dialogue network meetings were implemented in an Australian inner-city shelter for disadvantaged women. The aim of this study was to explore the experience of participating in these meetings from the perspective of service users and Open Dialogue practitioners. Qualitative interviews were completed with thirteen participants (six service users and seven practitioners) and analyzed thematically. The findings suggested that dialogical processes created safety by attending to multiple voices in nonviolent ways that reduced perceived hierarchies. Notions of expertise were renegotiated, which allowed the women to feel heard in significant ways that were different from their previous experiences with other social and healthcare services. Open Dialogue is an approach that can meaningfully attend to some of the power relations within which women live and within which social and health care services are provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-149
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Marital and Family Therapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

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