Jaakko Seikkula, Finland

Ph.D. Professor of Psychotherapy, University of Jyväskylä
Clinical psychologist, family therapist


Jaakko Seikkula has been mainly involved in developing family and social network practices in psychiatry for those with psychosis and other severe crises. From the early 1980s until 1998, he was a member of the team in Western Lapland in Finland that developed the comprehensive Open Dialogue approach. Jaakko’s research has focused on the processes of the dialogues, and assessing the Open Dialogue outcomes as a treatment for acute psychosis. In his recent work, he has helped apply ideas of open dialogues in social work with children’ problems, in organization consultation, supervision and teaching.

His research has focused on outcome and process studies of family therapy for psychosis, depression and social network interventions. Concerning outcome studies in psychotherapy, his main focus is on developing naturalistic designs to assess how the psychotherapy affects real world clinical practice. His research has also focused on research methods for studying dialogues in family therapy settings. His main aim is to develop tools for making sense of what happens in multi-actor dialogues, with a particular focus on the responses in dialogues.  This research is related to Jaakko’s interest in Mikhail Bakhtin’s work for 25 years.

His latest project concerns the human mind.  Jaakko is in charge of the “Relational Mind in Events of Change in Multiactor Dialogues” project, which will provide a comprehensive assessment of the change in a couples therapy session, including the change in outer and inner dialogues and the function of the autonomic nervous system of the clients and the therapists.