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An Update on The Open Dialogue International Training in Helsinki

by Constance Faison (2020-01-11)


I am in Helsinki for the third module of the Open Dialogue International Training. This course comprises professionals from a number of countries congregating together to discuss Open Dialogue developments in our various areas and to learn how to disseminate this model. This Open Dialogue training course is taught by many of the original t? ch?c team building from Western Lapland who worked in Tornio and were instrumental in the development of the model. These practitioners formed a company called Dialogic which provides Open Dialogue training all over the world.

120px-To_chuc_teambuilding.jpgThe U.K. clinicians on the Open Dialogue training come from 3 trusts NELFT, ELFT and KMPT all of us participated in the original NHS tranche of training and are mentors within our own trusts. We are here in Helsinki to be taught how to provide training in this model and to embed our learning and practice. In Kent we are attempting to put in place an Open Dialogue service based in Canterbury and working with the demographics of the Kent population, where areas of considerable deprivation are situated within a wealthy county. The clinicians from the London based trusts are mainly working in NELFT's new Dialogue First service which is a self referral service based in Dagenham for those who can afford to make a modest contribution.

The Open Dialogue model was based on the principles of need adapted treatment a model promoted in the 1960-70's originally a psychotherapeutic, primarily psychodynamic model of individual treatment. This model was formed to treat patients who were experiencing psychotic symptoms or had a diagnosis of schizophrenia. On the Helsinki Open Dialogue course we explored this approach which provides the foundation of Open Dialogue. The model requires that therapeutic activities are put in place and carried out flexibly and individually in each case to meet the changes occurring with the individual and those who form their personal interactional group, normally their family. The initial meeting will collect information, be diagnostically informed and therapeutically led. The ongoing treatment will continue to be dominated and led by a psychotherapeutically informed model. This model will consist of a range of therapeutically related interventions that will supplement each other rather than consisting of an either/ or approach. The Open Dialogue training teaches us that treatment should become and continue to be an ongoing process. In the need adapted model follow up is essential both at an individual level and in the development of treatment units and the treatment system as a whole.

This system evolved in Finland t? ch?c team building in Western Lapland and was adopted in other areas within the country and Scandinavia. Open Dialogue is not however the universal system and is increasingly being threatened by a change in the structure of Finnish mental health service provision. The system of training the whole team building as family therapists has not been financially tenable in recent times and the Finns are struggling to preserve their unique approach and to disseminate it.

Jane Hetherington, Principal Psychotherapist at KMPT and an employee at Early Intervention Services in Kent, has completed Open Dialogue course and will be a part of the new Open Dialogue service . She is trained as an integrative psychotherapist and has experience working in primary care, substance misuse, and psychosis services. Here, she writes about a few psychotherapeutic theories.



ISSN: 1946-1879