Open Dialogue is revolutionising the way people are treated in the mental health system. This new system of healthcare emerged in Finland after their mental health service collapsed under the weight. Finland used to have the worst statistics in Europe for schizophrenia. Now it has the best.
After the mental health service collapsed, a group of family therapists got together and asked how can they do it better? Open Dialogue is the answer. It is based on a totally different model to the current one, which adopts the brain chemical imbalance theory. Instead, it sees mental health problems as a symptom of the social network breaking down and so it aims to repair that. Bringing together the social network of the person at the centre of concern (they are not called the patient) the job of the practitioner is not to diagnose and treat but instead to encourage all of the voices to be heard. It taps into the power of the social network, so that everyone takes an active part in the healing of the family member. It is a social model that believes in the power of the individual to heal with the help of the collective.
Open Dialogue doesn’t ask what’s wrong with a person but what’s happened to them.
Open Dialogue is being introduced into the NHS by Dr Russell Razzaque author of the radical book Breaking Down Is Waking Up. And Green Lane Films (my production company) has been asked to film it. My personal and professional life have finally joined and had children! And this video is the offspring.
Melinda Messenger features in this clip that I shot at the Open Dialogue Conference in London earlier this year. Melinda is doing a Transpersonal Psychotherapy training and is the Patron of the UK Spiritual Crisis Network.
If you want to know more about Peer Supported Open Dialogue sign up to the POD Bulletin.