Open Dialogue Program

Jane Hetherington flyer imageISPS Australia and Australian College of Applied Psychology present "Implementing Peer Supported Open Dialogue in the UK by Jane Hetherington"

Date: Tuesday 16th February 2016
Time: 6.00pm to 8.00pm
Location: Level 5, 11 York Street, Sydney
Cost: covered by ACAP
Bookings: through

Download the flyer here (PDF 80.3KB).

For more information click here

Consumers, carers and clinicians had the opportunity to hear how one US organisation has implemented the ‘Open Dialogue’ model of psychiatric care at an information session hosted by the Mental Health Commission of NSW on 5 November 2015.

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy Special Open Dialogue Edition of Australia and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy Vol 36 Issue 1 March 2015

If you are interested in the Finnish Open Dialogue Approach to treating mental health, this Special Issue has 203 pages of articles and editorials.

You can view or download the articles on Wiley.  Some articles are more applicable to therapists, however a carer has advised us that any viewer can understand all articles.

Link to the Special Edition articles here


Jaakko Seikkula Speaks on Finnish Open Dialogue, Social Networks, and Recovery from Psychosis

Trailer for "OPEN DIALOGUE," a documentary by Daniel Mackler about
an alternative Finnish approach to healing psychosis which is achieving the best results in the world

Information from film-maker Daniel Mackler's website

In the far north of Finland, a stone’s throw from the Arctic Circle, a group of innovative family therapists converted the area’s traditional mental health system, which once boasted some of Europe’s poorest outcomes for schizophrenia, into one that now gets the best statistical results in the world for first-break psychosis.  They call their approach Open Dialogue.
Their principles, though radical in this day and age of multi-drug cocktails and involuntary hospitalizations, are surprisingly simple.  They meet clients in crisis immediately and often daily until the crises are resolved.  They avoid hospitalization and its consequential stigma, preferring to meet in the homes of those seeking their services.  And, perhaps most controversially, they avoid the use of anti-psychotic medication wherever possible.
They also work in groups, because they view psychosis as a problem involving relationships.  They include in the treatment process the families and social networks of those seeking their help, and their clinicians work in teams, not as isolated, sole practitioners.  Additionally, their whole approach values of the voice of everyone in the process, most especially the person directly in crisis.  And finally, they provide their services, which operate within the context of Finnish socialized medicine, for free.
The Open Dialogue documentary weaves together interviews with psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, and journalists to create both a powerful vision of medication-free recovery and a hard-hitting critique of traditional psychiatry.

You can obtain the Open Dialogue Documentary from Daniel Mackler’s website

My Reflections on the Finnish Open Dialogue Project
Daniel Mackler (a post written by Daniel Mackler for Beyond Meds -

In June of 2010, I visited Western Lapland in Finland for two weeks. My goal was to make a documentary film on the Open Dialogue project. Although the film is now complete, and I feel it tells their story fairly well, there remains a lot that I left out — things I somehow, for one reason or another, couldn’t capture on camera.

I want to share a few of those missing things here. I first want to share my impressions of arriving at the Keropudas Hospital in Tornio, Finland, which is the nerve center for Finnish Open Dialogue. It all began there, almost thirty years ago. I actually stayed on the hospital grounds for my two weeks in northern Finland, so I had a lot of time to spend wandering around the hospital, talking with patients, and just watching how life unfolded on a day-to-day basis, and in the evenings too. Because of the Finnish confidentiality rules, however, I was not allowed to film patients — which was very disappointing and frustrating for me — but the administrators did let me talk with whomever I wanted, ask whatever questions I wished, walk freely inside the hospital without a pass or escort, and even visit their locked ward whenever I wanted, which I did often. Oddly, no one seemed to mind what I did there, or where I went — they really let me go free. I also sat in on many Open Dialogue therapy sessions, which, again unfortunately, I couldn’t film, but I did come away with impressions. Many...  ... ...

... ..... ... A second key thing I learned about Keropudas Hospital, which, like most mental hospitals, is placed on the far outskirts of town (in their case, on the edge of the forest), is that it’s a rather large hospital that is relatively unused. There are one or more whole wards that are unused. I remember visiting one. It looked like an average, spacious hospital unit, but it was silent — and empty. It was dusty. Nothing was happening there. And the reason: they no longer have patients for them. They’ve developed such an effective system of helping people get well from psychosis, and get permanently out of the psychiatric system, that they no longer need so many beds. (No wonder they have some of the lowest per capita spending for psychosis anywhere in Finland — at least that’s what I’ve heard. When people get fully well, and are able to get off all their psychiatric drugs, they save the system a lot of money.)

Also, much of the work they do helping people with psychosis, most of it, in fact, has nothing to do with the hospital itself. In most cases they don’t prefer that people in crisis come to the hospital, and they don’t even do much therapy in the outpatient clinic that is located at the hospital. In fact, their hospital outpatient clinic has only one therapy room — one therapy room to serve a population of around 70,000 people!

Granted, the Open Dialogue clinicians do have an outpatient therapy clinic in each of their catchment area’s two largest towns (Tornio and Kemi), but they even prefer to avoid using these clinics for therapy, if at all possible. Their best preference is to meet in people’s homes. The therapists, usually a team of two or three trained family therapists, travel to the homes of the people in crisis. The clinicians made a point of telling me repeatedly that they saw no value in having people come to the hospital for therapy, because of the stigma. They felt that if they could help people get better at home, in their natural environment, then it was all for the good. Also, the clinicians told me repeatedly that they learned far more from people by seeing them in their homes than they could ever learn by seeing them in such an artificial place as a hospital or clinic. ...

What I heard from the Finnish people seeking help was that they felt the Open Dialogue system was fair — and honest. They also told me repeatedly that it felt “normal” to them. They used those words repeatedly. Interestingly, most of them seemed to have no idea that psychiatry was commonly hated and mistrusted in many other parts of the world, and even in parts of their own country. In fact, when I explained this to them many were genuinely surprised, as it contradicted their experience. This led them to tell me other things they liked best about their system. And they liked many things.

They liked the openness and frankness of the therapists. They liked it that above all else their own voices were heard and valued. They liked it that they had a key say in the decision about whether or not psychiatric drugs might be of benefit to them or not. They liked it that they had alternative options to drugs presented to them. They liked it that when they were in crisis they could invite their family and friends and other important people from their lives into therapy meetings — if they wished.

They also liked it that the therapists worked in teams, right in session — because they liked listening to what the therapists had to say to each other, in the middle of session. They told me that they felt they deserved to know what the therapists were thinking! And doesn’t it make logical sense?

They also told me that they liked it that their therapists met with them immediately in their crises, and didn’t put them off for months on endless, bureaucratic waiting lists. They liked it that therapists gave them the choice of meeting in their own homes or in clinics. They liked it that hospitalization was only used in cases of dire safety issues, and that hospitalizations were generally quite short. And they also liked it that visitors like me were so interested in what was going on with Open Dialogue — and were also interested in their lives. Many of them wanted to know what I myself thought of their lives, their situations, and of their therapy too. And, because it was Open Dialogue, and because I felt safe there, I shared my opinion. And they valued it. And it even felt therapeutic — which felt good to me. ... ....

More information plus the FULL INTERVIEW here: Open Dialogue Treatment: