What does it mean to work ‘dialogically’ in open dialogue and family therapy? A narrative review

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The Open Dialogue approach has gained increasing international interest outside of its origins in Finland. However, the central principle of promoting dialogue can be a difficult concept to teach and apply. In addition, there is a wide range of authors and articles about Open Dialogue and dialogical approaches creating a potentially overwhelming number of sources for clinicians to consider. In this narrative review, we describe and synthesise the wide range of writings on how dialogue may be promoted in family therapy. This article covers the various uses of the term ‘dialogue,’ the dialogical mindset of the therapist, recommendations on how to respond to clients during meetings, the involvement of the therapist’s ‘self’ in meetings, and the use of reflecting teams. We present a concise list of recommendations to aid clinicians and to promote further discussion about dialogical practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246–260
Number of pages15
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • dialogical practice
  • narrative review
  • Open Dialogue
  • practice recommendations
  • reflections
  • therapist’s self

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