Open Dialogue involves working with the whole family or network, rather than just the individual, and equipping staff of all disciplines with the key skills to do this, to thus effect change at a deeper level.
What is Open Dialogue?
Open Dialogue is a model of mental health care pioneered in Finland that that involves a consistent family and social network approach where all healthcare staff receive training in family therapy and related psychological skills. All treatment is carried out via whole system/network meetings which always include the patient. It has since has already been taken up in a number of countries around the world, including much of the rest of Scandinavia, Germany and several states in America.
This year’s Peer Supported Open Dialogue Conference showcased families who’ve been experiencing Open Dialogue in the NHS. It also showed mental health professionals who are feeling more connected to why they originally got into this work in the first place: to help people. This video shows some of the highlights from the day.
Some of the results so far from non-randomised trials are striking. For example, 72 per cent of those with first episode psychosis treated via an Open Dialogue approach returned to work or study within two years, despite significantly lower rates of medication and hospitalisation compared to treatment as usual.