Kerstin Hopstadius


I am a psychologist, family therapist and editor. My professional experience in anchored in systemic and collaborative work – trying to catch what happens in between people, and between people and environment. In my clinical work as well as in my writing, I have been looking for ways of describing dilemmas that land on my doorstep, but seem to slip away, when I try to get hold of them. On my own, or together with colleagues or people who present their troubles to me, there are always new such situations to reflect on.

On this site I share some viewpoints from my work and writing. Some articles and presentation papers are available for downloading; Swedish titles are available on the Swedish pages.

A time of study at Houston Galveston Institute) in 1989 was the starting point for a collaboration over many years and connections with inspiring colleagues in several countries. I would like to share a glimpse of that influence:

The not knowing position is an expression from the writings of Harlene Anderson and Harry Goolishian that has been much questioned by colleagues as well as many writers in the field. Since I very much liked that way of setting aside preconceived ideas, I decided to talk about it in a way that resonated with my own environment. I found a good metaphor in the way I go about picking cloudberries, the raspberry shaped little yellow berry that makes the most wonderful jam.


Cloudberries grow in marshlands and humid parts of the forest. You must watch your step there, this is important to know in advance. The moment you put your foot in the wrong place, water is trickling into your boot. Another thing that is good to know is that cloudberry plants, just like wood anemones, stretch out in the soil so that a single plant can cover a vast area. Therefore, if you find one ripe berry, there is a good chance that others are ready to reap at the same time.

However, those berries often are hidden among leaves and moss. If I stand up, they might be hidden from my sight. So, when I have bent down to pick that single berry, before I straighten my back again, I must look around in all directions. There, close to the ground, I catch a glimpse of something yellow, yes, there is another one, and nearby I find a bunch of them.

A not knowing position entails a similar kind of presence, to be there, without knowing in which direction to look or to listen. There are many kinds of expertise that might be useful in collaborative work, just like the knowhow you need to move around in the forest. However, that open attentiveness, right now, right here, is what matters.



Kerstin Hopstadius
Leksand, Sweden,
psychologist and psychotherapist.





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