As a practising clinician, Judith has been at the forefront of bringing the dialogical approach, as based on Finnish Open Dialogue, into the family therapy field in Australia.

In brief, Open Dialogue (OD) is a system of mental health care, which originated in Finland in the 1980’s in response to the psychiatric care of patients with psychosis. It has since been found to be applicable to a variety of difficult relational situations. The Open Dialogue system of care supports clinical teams in upholding the seven principles of: immediate help, social network, flexibility and mobility, responsibility, psychological continuity, tolerating uncertainty, dialogism. The clinical teams in turn, support the clients and families, with therapeutic work being informed by dialogical practice. Dialogical practice is a therapeutic way of being in the room which is supported by sophisticated and nuanced clinical skills.

In 2010 Judith completed an introductory week-long training in the USA. This was followed in 2011 by a two-week period of observation of clinical practice at Keropudas Hospital Tornio in Finland, learning from practitioners at the source of Open Dialogue and dialogical practice. A further two-week visit to Tromso Norway gave an increased understanding of the unique work of Tom Andersen and reflective processes.

Since this earliest exposure to the dialogical approach to family therapy, Judith has attended numerous international trainings and conferences in Belguim, Finland, Norway and the UK. She has presented both nationally and internationally on Open Dialogue and the approach to clinical practice and research. She has written extensively on Open Dialogue and dialogical practice in family therapy and research, including the co-editing of a special edition on Open Dialogue and dialogical practice with Kristof Mikes-Liu, for the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy. For details of the focus of these papers click here.

Between 2016 and 2018 Judith completed the international trainers’ training in Finland, a training for clinicians by clinicians. Comprising eight week-long blocks, the training included theory, clinical supervision, small group family-of-origin sessions, peer discussion, research and writing. Trainers included those who originated, developed and/or currently practice Open Dialogue and dialogical practice in Finland. Trainees came from UK, Germany, Italy, Finland, Austria, Japan, USA and Australia.

Judith is currently the only Australian amongst a small number of international therapists to be formally trained to supervise and train other family therapists and clinicians in Open Dialogue and the dialogical approach to couple and family therapy.

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For the word (and consequently for the human being) there is nothing more terrible than a lack of response
— Mikhail Bakhtin