Tag Archives: Open Dialogue

Open Dialogue adopted in Vermont, USA

Leading the project is Dr. Sandra Steingard, the Howard Center’s medical director of mental health and substance abuse services. For much of her 30-year career, Steingard largely accepted the mainstream thinking of the American psychiatric community — that antipsychotic medications are a critical tool in treating people who are delusional or hearing voices.

Last summer, Steingard traveled to Finland for preliminary training in Open Dialogue. Patient outcomes in that country are almost exactly opposite of those in the United States: After five years, about 80 percent of patients are fully recovered from their first-episode psychoses and are back at work. In Finland, where antipsychotic drugs aren’t prescribed as much as in the U.S., only one in five patients require any maintenance meds — or those taken continuously — at all.“They’re not really seeing schizophrenia in Finland. They’re seeing the same number of people coming in with acute psychosis,” Steingard says, “but people are getting better.”

Social Isolation Kills, But How and Why?

This editorial in the Journal Psychosomatic Medicine is freely available at http://www.psychosomaticmedicine.org/content/63/2/273.full.pdf+html, as is the Brummett et al article he is editorialising (http://www.psychosomaticmedicine.org/content/63/2/267.full.pdf+html).

While Professor House supposes that we do not really know why social isolation leads to more severe disease (in biomechanical terms), the Dialogical Practices approach takes the absence of social engagement as the pathogenic state for the human being.

Open Dialogue has proceeded from the work of Russian literary theorist, whose study of the great Russian novels, especially Dostoevsky, led to to assert that:

“For a human being there is nothing more terrible than a lack of response” – Mikhail Bakhthin

This is approach is important as it has provided a framework for an experiment in early intervention in psychosis with outstanding success, although this was in the unique environment of sub-Arctic Finland.


Get Behind Open Dialogue Movement for Mental Health

A petition the SAMHSA (the United States government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) has been established to promote approaches to disturbed minds focussing on the mind and human relatedness, as opposed to the brain as a chemical factory.

You can support this petition here: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/791/238/081/get-behind-open-dialogue-treatment-for-mental-ilness/