The Collaborative Pathways project at Advocates, Inc. in Framingham, MA has received an FEMHC grant to develop and evaluate their highly innovative new program. This community-based team approach provides a safe, welcoming, and respectful environment in which young people who are experiencing early episode psychosis can explore with their families and other natural supports all the options available for dealing with their experience. The new initiative incorporates immediate help, person-centered care, and intensive, ongoing support with shared decision-making about the use and timing of psychiatric medications.
The Collaborative Pathways approach was inspired by the work of Dr. Jaakko Seikkula and his team at Keropudas Hospital in Tornio, Finland and of Dr. Mary Olson in the US, in developing “Open Dialogue,” which has achieved impressive outcomes for early psychosis and other challenging conditions. The Collaborative Pathways team, led by Dr. Christopher Gordon, a psychiatrist and Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, has completed one year of an anticipated two-year training program with Dr. Olson at the Institute for Dialogic Practice in Haydenville, Massachusetts.
The team also is completing additional training in Tornio in August 2012. The Collaborative Pathway team hopes to emulate the Open Dialogue values of responding to people experiencing early-episode psychosis with compassionate listening, respect, and optimism, and to offer medications judiciously when desired or needed, consistent with scientific evidence and as part of an overall approach to recovery. Learning from the successful long-term outcomes of Keropudas Hospital, the Collaborative Pathways team hopes that demonstrating the safety of this approach similarly will help improve outcomes for young people in the US who are experiencing first-episode psychosis.
This project builds on the longstanding and pioneering commitment of Dr. Gordon and his team at Advocates to recovery-oriented thinking and practice as the basis of effective mental health care.