Welcome to the Open Dialogue UK website. Open Dialogue UK has been established to promote the development of the Open Dialogue approach in the UK. On this site you will be able to find out about our clinical services and a UK Open Dialogue Foundation Training for NHS teams and independent practitioners, commencing in London in June 2016. If you are interested in us running a seminar in your area, then please see this page. In time you will be able to read articles about the Open Dialogue approach on this website.
What is the Open Dialogue approach?
The Open Dialogue approach is both a philosophical/theoretical approach to people experiencing a mental health crisis and their families/networks, and a system of care, developed in Western Lapland in Finland over the last 25-30 years. In the 1980s psychiatric services in Western Lapland were in a poor state, in fact they had one of the worst incidences of ‘schizophrenia’ in Europe. Now they have the best documented outcomes in the Western World. For example, around 75% of those experiencing psychosis have returned to work or study within 2 years and only around 20% are still taking antipsychotic medication at 2 year follow-up.
Remarkably, Open Dialogue is not an alternative to standard psychiatric services, it is the psychiatric service in Western Lapland. This has afforded a unique opportunity to develop a comprehensive approach with well-integrated inpatient and outpatient services. Working with families and social networks, as much as possible in their own homes, Open Dialogue teams work to help those involved in a crisis situation to be together and to engage in dialogue. It has been their experience that if the family/team can bear the extreme emotion in a crisis situation, and tolerate the uncertainty, in time shared meaning usually emerges and healing is possible. Open Dialogue has drawn on a number of theoretical models, including systemic family therapy, dialogical theory and social constructionism.
Full Training Programme in Open Dialogue
The first full Open Dialogue training programme to be run outside of Finland commenced in London in April 2015. Teams from four NHS Trusts have joined the program, along with teams from international public services, peers and independent practitioners. The training has been developed with and is being led by senior members of the Open Dialogue team from Western Lapland, Jaakko Seikkula and other trainers who are leading the development of the Open Dialogue approach internationally. Please see this page for full details of the training.
Currently Planned Events
Feedback on our seminars
I am very inspired by [The Open Dialogue approach] and it gives me hope for a better way of responding to people experiencing emotional distress. I have been appalled at how brutal and inhumane conventional mental health services are in the UK (through family experience) and there is an urgent need to find a better way of going about things. The Open Dialogue approach brings a sense of optimism that things can get better, though we’ve got a long way to go.
I was really pleased that there was an OD event in the UK, and excited about this as a first step towards developing this approach in this country. It was good to talk with others who attended the seminar, to find out about things already going on – for example, someone talked about a London MH service where they’re using and OD approach routinely for CPA meetings. It’s encouraging to know that things like that are already happening and I hope this seminar will be part of steady progress with mainstreaming these ideas about a more democratic concept of mental health and illness.
You both embodied the approach so elegantly. I was left feeling highly impressed with your exquisite skills.
So inspiring and validating to see how well this approach has been developed. A real boost to know that this stuff really works and can be organised in statutory systems. The future for all health care with this client group is my hope. Outstanding, the best thing I have attended in years. Thank you Mia and Nick.
I noted how what you were saying was ’embodied’ – grown on experience and dedication – very enjoyable.
As I did not know anything about open dialogue I was amazed about the evidence you presented and especially about the democratic role distribution – for instance nurses trained in group therapy, home visits etc.
I think I would like to do the training – and I tell everyone about it! It’s all very thorough, open minded and direct – liked it.
Please click here to see more feedback on our seminars.