About Open Dialogue

What is the Open Dialogue approach?

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 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.)

Open Dialogue around the world

HOPEnDialogue project

HOPEnDialogue is an international collaborative study to evaluate the effectiveness of Open Dialogue in various contexts and to support the centers that adopt this approach.

Alita Taylor serves on the Advisory Council for this very first ever multi-center international research trial of Open Dialogue.

Learn here how you can participate.