The Open Dialogue Model, as described by Dr Tom Stockmann


“The Open Dialogue approach is a model of mental health care that involves a consistent family and social network approach. All healthcare staff receive training in family therapy and related psychological skills. The model has been adopted in a number of countries around the world, including much of Scandinavia, Germany, Italy, several states in America, and now the UK.

The Open Dialogue model revolves around ‘network meetings,’ in which the patient, together with his or her family and friends, come together with clinicians. Within these meetings, the usual hierarchy is flattened, and everyone works together to make sense of what is going on, and work out how best to help the person through their crisis. Network meetings are the only forum in which decisions are made, the patient remaining consistently at the centre of the process.

The Open Dialogue approach evolved over time in Finnish Western Lapland. Results from non-randomised trials there suggest that the Open Dialogue approach offers a substantial advantage over usual treatment for people with psychosis, despite lower rates of medication and hospitalisation compared to treatment as usual. The intensity of service input is high initially, but it is hoped that overall, resource use is substantially lower than with current services, due to many people recovering and being discharged.”

“October 2015 saw the completion of the first ever Peer-supported Open Dialogue (POD) training for National Health Service (NHS) staff in the UK. This exciting development paves the way for the establishment of pilot POD teams in the NHS and a large scale evaluation, comparing POD to treatment as usual.”

There are Open Dialogue training workshops and training programs in Australia.