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Our story

"Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it." 

(Hannah Arendt)

The Network for Dialogical Practices was initiated around 2008 by Peter Rober (BEL), Jaakko Seikkula (FIN), John Shotter (UK), Jim Wilson (UK) and Justine van Lawick (NL) who all have made major contributions in the fields of family therapy, mental health and psychology by showing how various human systems and services can be meaningful and powerful when we put dialogue in their very center. The intention of this group was to keep the ideas of dialogical practices alive and to care for the legacy of Tom Andersen, Gianfranco Cecchin and Michael White who were developing the dialogical ideas and passed away shortly one after another. 


The Network started to organize conferences, summer schools and publish newsletters periodically.

Since 2016, after John Shotter passed away, the Network is operated by Narativ group. In 2020, the international board was established with Alexandra Moreira (PT), Alita Kathryn Taylor (USA), Elisa Petroni (ARG), Petra Detersová (CZ), Richard Williams and Pavel Nepustil (CZ) as board members.


What do we mean by "dialogical"?

"The main presupposition of dialogical perspectives is that the mind of the Self and the minds of Others are interdependent in and through sense-making and sense-creating of social realities, in interpretations of their past, experiencing the present and imagining the future." (Ivana Marková)

"The human mind is not autonomous individual mental entity, but a contextual phenomenon which is both embodied and socially embedded. The dichotomy between subjectivism and objectivism must be overcome in dialogical theories." (Per Linell) 

"Nothing more is needed than
being heard and taken seriously and it is this which generates a dialogical relation.

(Jaakko Seikkula)

Materials about dialogical practice

Founders of the Network

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Peter Rober

Peter Rober is Professor at the Institute for Family and Sexuality Studies, Medical School (KU Leuven, Belgium). He is responsible for Context – the Centre of Marital and Family Therapy at UPC KU Leuven.

His research focus is on the psychotherapy process in marital and family therapy, and on processes in couples and families (trauma, grief, secrecy, …). 

He has numerous publications on these subjects in international peer-reviewed journals (Family Process, JMFT, …). He is the author of In Therapy Together: Family Therapy as a Dialogue (Palgrave/MacMillan, London, 2017).


Peter’s website:

Peter’s Youtube channel:

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Jaakko Seikkula

Professor of Psychology University of Agder; Professor of Psychotherapy (emeritus) University of Jyväskylä

He has been involved in developing family centered mental health care since early 1980’s. Later the new approach was named as Open Dialogues and I was a member of the original team in Western Lapland in Finland. Since 1988 he has conducted tenths of research projects about the effectiveness of the open dialogue approach, especially in psychotic problems. At the same time his  interest has been on looking at dialogues as the basic form of human life and therapeutic practice. Lately his focus has been on the embodiment in dialogue, how we communicate in our bodies and create a relational mind. 

He is author or co-author of about 190 scientific papers. Two books on dialogical practice have been translated into 15 languages.

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Justine Van Lawick

As a child I rescued plants and talked with dogs and horses

As a student I became a political activist

As a psychologist I was fascinated by family therapy

I found my professional home in systemic and dialogical practices

I co-founded the Lorentzhuis (1984) in Haarlem, the Netherlands, to create a healthy context for these practices

I found pleasure in doing therapies, teaching, writing, researching and developing the field

High conflict and violence always were and are in my attention

Children are with me and in me

Practitioner research is opening new landscapes

I am worried about the long-term effects of the capitalist and neo liberalist system and the related anthropocentrism that created multiple devastating crises in the world

I find myself rescuing plants again

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Jim Wilson

Jim Wilson is a systemic family therapist, trainer, and consultant to social care and mental health services in the UK and Europe. He is past chair of Centre for Child Studies IFT and has published widely in the field of family therapy. He has an interest in playing his guitar with friends.


John Shotter

John Shotter had been an Emeritus Professor of Communication in the Department of Communication, University of New Hampshire, and worked as a consultant with KCC International (Kensington Consultation Center) for many years. His long term interest was in the social conditions conducive to people having a voice in the development of participatory democracies and civil societies. He was the author of many books and papers.

Board of the Network


Alexandra Moreira

Psychologist, dialogical psychotherapist and pedagogue, she is currently finishing her research in the area of dialogical practices in the Masters in Psychology at the Catholic University of Lisbon. She studied Generative Practices at Fundación Interfas  and participates in study and supervision groups  focused on Collaborative and Dialogical approaches and, in mental health, on the Open Dialogue proposal, in which she is an assistant trainer in the course offered by the Romão de Sousa Foundation, in Portugal, and the Noos Institute, in Brazil.

She integrates, as an effective associate, the clinical team of Instituto Noos. She is a full member of the Brazilian Association of Family Therapists and of the Portuguese Family Therapy Society. 


Petra Detersová

Born in Slovakia in 1987, but living for almost ten years in Czech republic. Studied psychology and journalism on Faculty of Social studies in Brno. Worked in HR for three years and later on till today as a field worker / psychologist / volunteer-coordinator in NGO HOST Home-Start with families in crisis with small children.

She is a longstanding member of Narativ group and is a supporter of spreading dialogical and collaborative thoughts over the world. Loves to travel, hike, climb, write, take pictures and create videos and spend time with friends.


Pavel Nepustil

Therapist, consultant, and trainer, with a specific interest in drug use and addiction. In Brno (Czech Republic) where Pavel lives and works, he has designed and led several innovative services for people who struggle with addiction issues. His work in this field is mostly influenced by collaborative-dialogic practices. He worked with Dr. Harlene Anderson at the Houston Galveston Institute (Texas, USA) and, more recently, graduated  from Trainer’s Training in Open Dialogue (Helsinki, Finland) headed by Prof. Jaakko Seikkula. Pavel is a founder of Narativ group that runs training programmes in collaborative-dialogic practices and he operates an outreach team Recovery Brno within Narativ. He published three books in Czech, one of them (Recovered without treatment) was translated into English.


Elisa Petroni


Alita Kathryn Taylor


Richard Williams

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