Open Dialogue is a philosophical and the most scientifically researched approach to people and their friends and family experiencing a difficult time.
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Alita has experience working in emergency psychiatry and in other mental health services since 1992. She currently offers training and organizational consultancy, supervision, and family psychotherapy in Washington, also maintaining her license in California.
Fletcher has lived and worked in Tacoma as a psychiatrist since 1990. He divides his professional time between clinical practice, teaching, and research. His published research includes work with anxiety/depression, learning disabilities, trauma-related issues, and sleep physiology. He sees individuals, couples, families and groups, and often together with Alita Taylor, his wife, a skilled marriage and family therapist.
Open Dialogue was named one of four human rights based treatments in mental health by the World Health Organization.
Below are some of the key links to the WHO Guidance documents and to resources.
- WHO Guidance and Technical Packages
- WHO Press release in ENGLISH - SPANISH - RUSSIAN
- WHO Feature story- Community-based mental health services using a rights-based approach
- Telegraph Article - Seclusion, restraint and coercion: abuse 'far too common' in mental health services across the world
- Video poem: The Power of Purpose - Community-based mental health care: the Power of Purpose
- YouTube livestream of the WHO Launch event
Open Dialogue Therapy
Open Dialogue is a philosophical and scientifically researched therapy and approach to people, their friends and family experience
The Open Dialogue approach is a practical and philosophical approach to mental health care. Developed in Western Lapland, Finland in the 1980’s, this treatment delivery system of care has the best documented recovery outcomes in the western world. Statistically significant decreases in unemployment, disability allowances, hospitalizations, mental health service recidivism, and neuroleptic usage have been shown (Seikkula et al., 2003; Bergström et al., 2018.) Open Dialogue is based in Seattle Washington and headed by Alita Kathryn Taylor and Fletcher Taylor.
Open Dialogue practice consistently applies the following principles: (1) immediately helping when a crisis is emerging, while there is typically more openness and possibility available toward the nature and the depth of a person’s distress at the initial outset of an outcry for help, (2) maintaining psychological continuity for clients manifested by the team who responds to the initial crisis being the available and the in-the-room providers throughout treatment, whether emergent, inpatient, or outpatient care, efforts are consistently made for the team for the person and their network to remain the same for them (3) moment by moment flexibility and mobility, adapting to the changing needs of the client and family/social network, responding and meeting very often in the client’s home, with no requirement of how often or when to meet next; this is discussed and established during treatment and is changeable, (4) staff taking and sharing the responsibility to answer and follow through with every call to arrange and deliver help (5) tolerance of uncertainty, not being too quick to know, to diagnose, or to advise any unilateral decisions, allowing for connection, curiosity, creativity, and shared learning, (6) social networks and/or family being included in treatment, inviting resources and new relational understandings to unfold, (7) eliciting multiple perspectives, creating dialogical space where experiences and other voices are explored (a.k.a., polyphony.)
Love is in the Air
Open Dialogue, a Better Way