Mary Olson

PhD on Open Dialogue

Mary Olson, Ph.D. LICSW is Assistant Professor in Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS),and Adjunct Professor at the Smith Collage School for Social Work.

A teacher, researcher, and practitioner, Dr. Olson was a Senior Fulbright Scholar (2001-2002) to Finland in the Department of Clinical Psychology at the University of Jyvaskyla. Inspired by the humanistic and democratic innovation in Finnish psychiatry called “Open Dialogue,” she has initiated the first US adaptation research study of Open Dialogue at UMMS, which she now co-leads with her colleagues Douglas Ziedonis, MD (PI) and Jaakko Seikkula, PhD.

She has published key articles in Family Process and other international journals on Open Dialogue, dialogical transformation in therapy, research on larger system, and communication-based approaches to eating disorders.

She is the lead author of the new Open Dialogue psychotherapy fidelity guide appearing in a new handbook for researchers and clinicians. In 2011, she founded a training facility, the Institute for Dialogic Practice, in Haydenville, MA and has specialized in developing new training methods for dialogic practice: a “post-systems” approach.

A member of the American Academy of Family Therapists, she maintains a private practice and treats and consults with individuals, couples, and families on a variety of clinical issues.

An honors’ graduate of Wellesley and Columbia in English and comparative literature, she has an MSW from Smith and a PhD in communication from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.