Psychiatry and Open Dialogue – An Online Conversation

  • When
    February, 12 2021
    6:00 pm CET - 7:30 pm CET
  • Where
    Online conversation
    Zoom - Webinar
  • Register

Medical schools train their students to take control (and responsibility) in a crisis; to provide comfort and reassurance to people who are suffering and afraid by providing solutions in an authoritative voice. Psychiatrists in Open Dialogue work within teams in which their expertise, though valued, is but one voice in a process; a process based on an understanding that mental health is built on a foundation of all voices being heard and responded to.

It can be hard to see how radically different Open Dialogue. The inclusion of social networks might seem like a simple extension of “treatment as usual.” It may seem even like an extension of treatment management and compliance.

How have psychiatrists met the institutional and economic obstacles to adapting Open Dialogue-inspired work? How have psychiatrists incorporated Open Dialogue’s research that finds that creating a safe space for dialogue, rather than trying to treat or fix, often resolves psychosis, and that medicating later, if at all, in smaller amounts and for shorter times, improves outcomes? How has taking on these challenges changed psychiatrists’ sense of their work, of their clients, and of themselves?

This is the ninth of a series of “Town Hall” online conversations exploring dialogical responses in the age of COVID made in collaboration with Mad in America and Open Excellence.


Kermit Cole and Louisa Putnam are inspired by Open Dialogue to respond as a team to individuals, couples and families in crisis. They have hosted symposia in Santa Fe, New Mexico, exploring intersections between Open Dialogue, Hearing Voices, and other dialogical approaches, and studied under Jaakko Seikkula to be OD trainers.


Reflecting Team:

Sirkka Mullis is a family member activist for Open Dialogue, co-founder of the Open Dialogue network in Switzerland and trainer for Open Dialogue. She is committed to approaches that take the voices of the person in crises and the perspectives of family members seriously.

Andrea Zwicknagl is a peer support worker in an Open Dialogue base mobile crisis team in Interlaken, Switzerland. She is a part of the Swiss Hearing Voices Network and a member of the HOPEnDialogue project.

Pavel Nepustil lives and works in Brno, Czech Republic, as an independent psychologist, consultant and trainer. His main focus is the field of drug use, addiction and recovery that he approaches from relational perspective. With the Narativ group he organizes trainings in collaborative-dialogic approach and in Open Dialogue.