Jaakko Seikkula, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychotherapy
Department of Psychology, University of Jyväskylä
Box 35, FIN-40014 Jyväskylä, Finland

Email: Jaakko.Seikkula@psyka.jyu.fi
Phone: 358-14-2602842
Mobile: 358-50-44 32 361
Fax: 358-14-2602 841

Clinical psychologist, family therapist.

Jaakko has been mainly involved in developing family and social network based practices in psychiatry with psychosis and other severe crises. Since early 80’s until 1998 he was a member of the team in Western Lapland in Finland for developing the comprehensive Open Dialogue approach, which Jaakko has been studying both concerning the processes of dialogues and the outcomes in treatment of acute psychosis. The power of dialogue became evident in the remarkable results when 85 % could return to full employment and over 80 % living without any psychotic experiences at five year follow up. This was reached by minimum use of antipsychotic medication, in 2/3 of cases none.

After moving to University of Jyväskylä he has become involved in many development and research projects. Recently ideas of open dialogues have been applied in social work with children’ problems, in organization consultation, supervision and teaching. Research has focused on outcome and process studies on family therapy of psychosis and depression and social network interventions. Concerning outcome studies in psychotherapy the main focus is on developing methods for naturalistic designs to see how the psychotherapy affect in real world, in every day clinical practice.

Another line of developing and research has focused on research methods for dialogues in family therapy settings. A new method – at the moment named as Dialogical Methods for Investigations in Happenings of Change – is in progress. The main aim is to develop tools for making sense of what happens in multi actor dialogues, especially focusing on the responses in dialogues.

This is related with Jaakko’s main language philosophical interest on Mikhail Bakhtin’s works for 25 year. Jaakko wrote first text referring to Bakhtin 1987 and since then Bakhtin has been the main inspiration for understanding the power of dialogue in human life. During last years the importance of the being present in the moment in the “once occurring participation in being” has become the most important aspect of therapy and writing and teaching about therapy.

Jaakko is in charge of the new Relational Mind in multiactor dialogues research project financed by the Academy of Finland. The project aims to increase understanding of the basic qualities of human life including the body’s responsive rhythmic attunement and mutual synchronization with others. This program is unique in two respects. First, no comprehensive studies have been performed on the mutual synchronization and attunement of therapist- and client-behavior that would encompass (a) biological, (b) psychological and (c) social aspects. Secondly, this study will include psychotherapists as informants on an equal footing with psychotherapy clients.
Jaakko is invited for tens of workshops and congress presentation every years.

For more, see for instance:

  • Seikkula, J. & Arnkil TE (2006) Dialogical meetings in social networks. London: Karnac Books (Published on Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and German languages).
  • Seikkula, J. (2008). Inner And Outer Voices In The Present Moment Of Family And Network Therapy. Journal of Family Therapy, 30(4), 478-491.
  • Seikkula, J. and Trimble, D. (2005) Healing elements of therapeutic conversation: dialogue as an embodiment of love. Family Process, 44: 461–475.
  • Seikkula, J., Alakare, B., Aaltonen, J., Haarakangas, K., Keränen, J. and Lehtinen, K. (2006) Five years experiences of first-episode non-affective psychosis in Open Dialogue approach: treatment principles, follow-up outcomes and two case analyses. Psychotherapy Research, 16: 214–228.