UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


What is Open Dialogue?

Developed originally in Finland, Open Dialogue is a social network model of crisis mental healthcare, where teams are trained to work systemically and enable people's families and networks to take more control and utilise their own resources as part of a less hierarchical and more collaborative approach to care. An OD team works with the service user from initial crisis and beyond, organising treatment and longer term care to prevent the reoccurrence of crises. OD places great emphasis social networks, working with their families and friends and others (healthcare professionals or local community members). Service users and their social network engage in shared decision making with healthcare professionals to deploy appropriate interventions (pharmaceutical, psychological, social). This offers an alternative to the current model where separate teams provide certain functions and longer term support is often not provided. Initial evidence from Finland suggests OD is effective, with reductions in bed usage and improved recovery rates (Seikkula et al., 2011).


The ODDESSI study aims to investigate the following objectives:

1. Whether services can be re-organised to evaluate OD
2. How effective the training of NHS staff is to provide OD
3. Whether OD can be used to treat people in crisis
4. Whether service users, their families and staff have a positive experience of OD
5. Whether it is possible for OD to become part of routine care in the NHS