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Open dialogue: Experience from 4 countries

Updated: Apr 28, 2022

UPDATE: Watch the recording of the webinar below

You can register for the webinar using the link below. After you click on the link, you will be asked to fill in your name and email address. Once you fill in these details and click on the „Register“ button, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

The Open dialogue approach (OD) has become a popular new approach to mental health care. It has been developed in Western Lapland in Finland since the 1980’s and is now being introduced in many other countries. 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. But how to transfer a good practice example from one country to another? How to implement an approach in different contexts, when the system of care stands in another basement? How is the approach affected by the culture and circumstances in the country, in the organisation, by understanding of each person? We would like to share our experiences with Open Dialogue and implementation processes from different points of view. The main goal of the webinar is to share developments and findings from 4 different countries: the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and the Republic of Estonia.

Questions we will address: • What is the value of the (Peer) Open Dialogue approach? • What is the role of peer workers and other professions in Open Dialogue? • How the Open Dialogue Approach may change current mental health care practises? • How may Open Dialogue be combined with other models or approaches? • How to implement Open Dialogue in mental health care systems, in organisations, in teams?

The webinar will be hosted by Jean Pierre Wilken, the president of The CARe Network, a university professor involved in mental health care reforms and one of the authors of the Model CARe. He will introduce shortly the Open Dialogue approach, its core aspects in current developments and its connectedness to other models of care.

Russell Razzaque, psychiatrist and a director of a Community Mental Health Transformation Programme in the UK works as a Consultant Psychiatrist in NELFT, where he is also an Associate Medical Director and Director of Research and Innovation. Additionally, he currently serves as an elected member of the Council of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and he is a Visiting Professor at London South Bank University.

His particular field of clinical and research interest is mindfulness – which he has been a trainer in for over fifteen years – and Open Dialogue. He is currently leading a national initiative to bring Open Dialogue to the NHS, helping to coordinate an NIHR funded multi-centre randomised controlled trial. He has also published numerous papers in this area in recent years in peer reviewed journals.

Russell is a published author in human psychology, with several books in the area, and he has also been a regular contributor to several national and international publications including Psychology Today, The Guardian, The Telegraph and The Independent.

Dagmar Narusson, lecturer and researcher at The University of Tartu, Model CARe and Open Dialogue trainer is trained in Open Dialogue Approach UK Ltd in London and trained in the CARe Model. She is leading Open Dialogue research project 2021-2022 in Estonia and Open Dialogue first training project 2021-2022 in collaboration with Open Dialogue Approach UK Ltd and Estonian Social Insurance Board.

Dienke Boertien, coordinator of the national Peer Open Dialogue network in the Netherlands has a background in seamtics and philosophy and work at Phrenos, Centre of Expertise for mental health care on the topics of recovery, self-management, recovery supporting care.

Together with members – mental health organizations – she supports the development and implementation of innovations in mental healthcare. Among them WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) and Peer-supported Open Dialogue.

Ondrej Žiak, psychiatrist working in mental health care services and an Open Dialogue trainer has been participating in the process of education, implementation, and development of OD in Czech Republic for the past 3 years.

Currently he is working in the Open Dialogue community team in NGO ZAHRADA 2000 and is a member of the OD training team.

And what would be Open Dialogue without a dialogue! Within the webinar, there will be space for questions, discussions and joint dialogue. Each voice in the dialogue is very welcome. We are happy for this opportunity and looking forward to meeting you there!

Open Dialogue has drawn on a number of theoretical models, including systemic family therapy, dialogical theory and social constructionism. Open Dialogue is the main model of psychiatric service in Western Lapland. It is 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 help those involved in a crisis situation to be together and to engage in dialogue. One of the core assumptions is that if the family and the team can bear the extreme emotion in a crisis situation, and tolerate uncertainty, in time shared meaning usually emerges and healing is possible (source:

With the development of the consumer and recovery movement, Peer-supported Open Dialogue (POD) was introduced, involving peer workers as experts-by-experience in the team and the network meetings.

In the CARe model, open dialogue is considered the main way of communication in the triangle of a person experiencing mental health issues, professionals, and social network members. Although the CARe model offers a much broader framework than the Open Dialogue approach, since it focuses not only on crisis situations, the emphasis on experiential learning and working in a social network on the basis equal collaboration is shared.

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