Training Opportunity in Open Dialog

Open Dialog, the Finnish treatment approach for psychosis that has extremely high success rates without medication, is beginning to grow in the US. This is an opportunity to get training from the founder at a retreat center in New Mexico; it’s expensive, and space is limited so it’s by invitation, but if you are interested contact them, and please share with others who may be interested.

Open Dialogue in Psychiatric Care
By Invitation Only
October 14-18, 2010
at Vallecitos Mountain Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico

If you are interested contact Mary Olson —

Over the past two decades, Jaakko Seikkula, Ph.D.–together with a multidisciplinary team at Keropudas Hospital in Finland–have advanced and refined “Open Dialogue,” a network-based, language-based approach to psychiatric care. In Europe and elsewhere, this way of working has garnered widespread international attention for improving outcomes for young people going through a first psychotic episode. Integrating different psychotherapeutic traditions, this approach de-emphasizes US-style pharmaceutical intervention. The focus instead is on developing a social network of family and helpers and reducing isolation by establishing a “dialogue,” i. e., a communicative relationship, with the patient. Among its signature features, Open Dialogue provides immediate help and organizes “a treatment meeting” within twenty-four hours of the initial contact.

Starting in the eighties, there have been outcome and quasi-experimental studies of Open Dialogue. The results consistently suggest that this way of working reduces hospitalization, the use of medication, and recidivism when compared with treatment as usual. For example, in a five-year follow-up (Seikkula et al. 2006), 83% of patients have returned to their jobs or studies or were job seeking, thus not receiving government disability. In the same study, 77% did not have residual psychotic symptoms. Such outcomes led the Finnish National Research and Development Center for Welfare and Health to award a prize recognizing the Keropudas group for ” the ongoing development of psychiatric care over a period of ten years.” In a rare opportunity at a stunningly beautiful ranch near Taos, New Mexico, Jaakko Seikkula, Ph.D., the leading developer, will give a seminar describing the principles of Open Dialogue and the research supporting its effectiveness. Limited to 22 people, this event will allow participants to gain an in-depth understanding of this innovation and reflect on possibilities for research and clinical application in the US. Mary Olson, Ph.D. will assist discussions of the latter by describing the coherence between the Open Dialogue approach and the reform movement in mental health care in public settings. She is an American researcher who has been working with Jaakko to bring Open Dialogue to the US and an ongoing co-author with him on several articles describing this approach.

Jaakko Seikkula, Ph.D. is a professor of psychotherapy at the Department of Psychology in the University of Jyväskylä in Finland. His current writing interest is the concept of the present moment in the dialogic encounter, while his research examines the dialogic process in treating couples where one partner has reported signs of depression. Between 1981-1998, he worked as the senior clinical psychologist at the Keropudas hospital in Finland where he and colleagues developed Open Dialogue for psychosis. Jaakko is an international consultant with ongoing projects in many countries. He has recently published a book, with Tom Arnkil, entitled Dialogical Meetings in Social Networks (Karnac, London, 2006).

Mary Olson, Ph.D. is on the faculty of Smith College School for Social Work and an affiliate at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She is the founder and director, with Jaakko Seikkula, of The Mill River Institute for Dialogic Practice in Haydenville, MA. In the fall of 2001, she was Senior Fulbright Professor to Finland in Clinical Psychology at the University of Jyväskylä. A highly experienced trainer of physicians and other helpers in medical settings, she was Director of the Clinical Externship in Systemic Family Therapy from 1990-1995, with Carlos Sluzki, M.D. as Chairman, in the Department of Psychiatry, Berkshire Medical Center. She is a member of the American Academy of Family Therapists.

Seikkula, J., Aaltonen, J., Alakare, B., Haarakangas, K., Keranen, J. & Lehtinen, K. (2006). Five-year experience of first-episode nonaffective psychosis in open-dialogue approach: Treatment principles, follow-up outcomes, and two case studies. Psychotherapy Research, 16(2): 214/228.

Comments are closed.

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: