University of Massachusetts Medical School Faculty Publications


An Auto-Ethnographic Study of "Open Dialogue": The Illumination of Snow

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry; Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center

Publication Date


Document Type



Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology | Psychology


This auto-ethnographic study describes the changes in the author's thinking and clinical work connected to her first-hand experience of Open Dialogue, which is an innovative, psychosocial approach to severe psychiatric crises developed in Tornio, Finland. In charting this trajectory, there is an emphasis on three interrelated themes: the micropolitics of U.S. managed mental health care; the practice of "dialogicality" in Open Dialogue; and the historical, cultural, and scientific shifts that are encouraging the adaptation of Open Dialogue in the United States. The work of Gregory Bateson provides a conceptual framework that makes sense of the author's experience and the larger trends. The study portrays and underscores how family and network practices are essential to responding to psychiatric crises and should not be abandoned in favor of a reductionist, biomedical model.


Auto-ethnography, Biological Reductionism, Dialog, Dialogic Practice, Open Dialogue, autoetnografía, diálogo, diálogo abierto, práctica dialógica, reduccionismo biológico

DOI of Published Version



Fam Process. 2015 Dec;54(4):716-29. doi: 10.1111/famp.12160. Epub 2015 Jul 2. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Family process

PubMed ID