We are profoundly social beings living not as isolated individuals but as integral members of interdependent social systems—our nuclear family system, and the broader social systems of extended family, peers, our community and the broader society. Therefore, psychosis and other forms of human distress often deemed “mental illness” are best seen not so much as something intrinsically “wrong” or “diseased” within the particular individual who is most exhibiting that distress, but rather as systemic problems that are merely being channeled through this individual.
It has been five years since I traveled to Western Lapland in Finland to film my documentary “Open Dialogue” on their Open Dialogue Project—the program, as I stated in the film, presently getting the best long-term statistical results in the world for the treatment of first-episode psychosis. My film came out four years ago, and since then I have been screening it around the world, giving lectures about Open Dialogue and my experience in Finland, participating in regular conferences and Q&A sessions about it, receiving daily emails, Facebook messages, blog and Youtube comments about it (as it’s now been free on Youtube for a year), and keeping in regular contact with some of the folks who work there. But I haven’t shared many of my updated opinions in writing, so I wish to do so now.
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In the past five years, there has been a dramatic explosion of interest in the Open Dialogue Therapy practiced in Tornio, Finland. It is a humanistic “treatment” that has produced five-year outcomes for psychotic patients that are, by far, the best in the developed world, and there are now groups in the United States, Europe and beyond that are seeking to “import” this care. However, the challenges for doing so are many and, last month, Open Dialogue UK - on the occasion of the first-ever fully recognized Open Dialogue training outside of Tornio - organized a conference in London to hold an open dialogue about Open Dialogue.
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Instead of an echo-chamber conference, in which treatment “experts” present to other treatment providers, and those with lived experience gather in their own rooms, the ISPS-US conference allowed for the clash of diverse opinions, which could sometimes amalgamate into something greater than the sum of its parts.
Psychiatrist outlines varying roles in Open Dialogue model, fostering service-user and family agency through meaningful conversations with a team of providers.
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Anthropologists study Parachute NYC to identify challenges and opportunities for implementing peer support and Open Dialogue practices.
From The Conversation: Many researchers are beginning to acknowledge that the concept of "schizophrenia" as a discrete, hopeless, and deteriorating brain disease does not exist. In...
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