The unique dialogical methodology which Judith devised for her PhD was based on the ideas of Buber. It was described by one PhD examiner from the UK as ‘an important innovation both for research with vulnerable participants but also for clinical psychotherapy work generally’. The operationalisation of the dialogical approach in microanalysis of research interviews, as based on the ideas of Martin Buber, is detailed in the paper: A dialogical research methodology based on Buber: intersubjectivity in the research interview.

There were three layers of creative methodology and presentation of the PhD. Firstly, it included intersubjective moments that occurred between researcher and research participant, as based on a Buberian micro-analysis of the emergence of new knowing. The second layer included the subjective experience of each participant, which was composed into an individual I-poem, as informed by the Voice-Centred Relational method of analysis. Finally, it included what Judith denoted as a We-Poem, which suggested a dialogue between the differing family members about their experience of family relational abuse, as exemplified below.


We-Poem of Two sisters: Claire and Marianne

Stanza One: Family Functioning

we were never calm and happy — we had to be really careful, all on eggshells

we never had a clear handle on rules — we wouldn’t really question, we’d take it

we were just basically scraping through — we’re nothing, just didn’t want to be hit

we could have frigging died! — we were the ones he was using as his punching bag

Stanza Two: Family Relationships

we were always a sibling group — we’d have relationships individually

we didn’t really celebrate — we weren’t really getting on as a family

we had to put on a front always — we all knew it was happening to her (mother)

we don’t meet as a family at Christmas — we could never function as a four family

Stanza Three: Sense of Family

we were the kind of povo boguns — we just hated each other, don’t like each other

we didn’t really have parties or anything — we’re not used to being around people

we were seen as a family torn apart — we were quite separate

we’re seen as a family to be pitied — we were all pretending

Stanza Four: Family Conversations about Past Abuse

we were supposed to all be together — we’d always think ‘hey there’s a way out’

whenever we’ve told anybody they’ve left — we didn’t talk about it

we had to all pretend happy families — we were all a little worried

we were very very isolated — we don’t really talk to each other, we never really did


I said to myself, ‘I have things in my head that are not like what anyone has taught me – shapes and ideas so near to me – so natural to my own way of being and thinking that it hasn’t occurred to me to put them down’. I decided to start anew – to strip away what I had been taught – to accept as true my own thinking … I was alone and singularly free, working into my own, unknown – no one to satisfy but myself.
— Georgia O'Keefe