Dialogic practice: Garavan's six steps

Published: 19/01/2023

Ali Gardner outlines Garavan's six steps and talks about the factors that should be considered when using this tool in practice.


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Gardner, A.. (2023). Dialogic practice: Garavan's six steps. Dartington Trust.

Dialogic practice is about entering into conversations with curiosity and uncertainty, instead of solutions, certainty and outcomes. In their six steps, Garavan outlines how practitioners should consider: 

  • Purpose. 
  • Principles. 
  • Goals. 
  • Assumptions. 
  • Methodology. 
  • Requirements. 

Ali Gardner outlines the six steps and talks about the factors that should be considered when using this tool. In this webinar, Ali talks about how we need to think about mindset over method when considering approaches, and why emotion should be considered alongside skills-based approaches as we think about courageous conversations. 

Talking points 

This video looks at: 

  • The role of courage and daring to show vulnerability. 
  • How it fits with strengths-based approaches and humanistic principles. 
  • How it can give clarity at moments of high emotion. 
  • How questions can be used to allow people into dialogue. 
  • The role of the expert and moving them out of the driving seat and into the passenger seat. 

Resources that are mentioned in this video 

Related resources 

Reflective questions 

Here are reflective questions to stimulate conversation and support practice:

  1. Are there changes that you might need to make to your mindset in order to apply the six steps effectively? 
  2. How can your organisation support practitioners to use emotion effectively? 
  3. How can you use questions to allow people to move into dialogue with you? 
  4. How can you move into a more facilitative role when working with people? 

Professional Standards

PQS:KSS - Relationships and effective direct work | Communication | The role of supervision | Promote and govern excellent practice | Developing excellent practitioners | Effective use of power and authority | Emotionally intelligent practice supervision | Person-centred practice | Safeguarding | Direct work with individuals and families | Effective assessments and outcome based support planning

CQC - Effective | Caring | Responsive

PCF - Diversity and equality | Values and ethics | Critical reflection and analysis | Intervention and skills

RCOT - Service users | Understanding relationship | Develop intervention | Communication | Collaborative | Support development