One of the main aims of the HOPEnDialogue project is to investigate how the Open Dialogue approach is implemented in mental health services globally. In order to reach this goal, we launched a survey for OD teams in 2020. The study results have now been published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology as part of the special issue dedicated to OD. 

We collected data from 142 OD teams located across 24 countries, mainly in Europe. Beyond developing, piloting, and validating a scale for self-assessment based on the seven OD principles, we described some features and practices of OD teams around the world.

Significant variability was observed in the structural characteristics of OD services, with mental health departments and registered associations being the most common types of entities. This diversity in organizational settings suggests the adaptability and flexibility of OD within different healthcare contexts. 

Referrals to OD services primarily came from general practitioners, hospitals, and social services. However, self-referrals also played a significant role, indicating the importance of client-centered care and empowerment. The diagnostic profile of clients receiving OD treatment was mostly identified with psychotic disorders (92%), but some variability and adaptability were observed as well.

Among the study’s most significant findings is the observation that the presence of OD-trained staff around the world is less consistent than in Western Lapland. In fact, the survey showed that 42% of teams were practising OD with less than half of the professionals trained. Moreover, the study highlighted a lack of regular supervision, with 22% of the OD teams indicating no supervision and 10% not responding to this question. Although research and evaluation are considered an integrative part of the development of OD in Western Lapland, 38% of OD teams participating in the survey reported not being involved in any research or evaluation programs.

Overall, we highlighted a need to promote global collaboration and knowledge exchange among OD teams to share best practices, experiences, and research findings. We recommended that future research follow the development of OD implementation over time, complement self-assessment with rigorous observations and external evaluations, focus on involving different stakeholders in the OD self-assessment, and investigate the long-term outcomes of OD in various contexts.

The full article “Open Dialogue Services Around the World: A Scoping Survey Exploring Organizational Characteristics in the Implementation of the Open Dialogue Approach in Mental Health Services” is available at this link.


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