Introduction To Open Dialog for First Episode Psychosis

Will Hall

Will Hall

Reflections on a Workshop with Jaakko Seikkula and Mary Olson: Open Dialog Approach to First Episode Psychosis.

An Introduction to Open Dialog with Will Hall.

Monday, November 22, 6:30-8:30 PM

Process Work Institute

2049 NW Hoyt Street, Portland Oregon
$20 donation requested; no one turned away for lack of funds. CEU’s are available for this event. Need more info? Email

Co-Sponsored by Portland Hearing Voices, Mental Health Association of Portland, and Empowerment Initiatives.

Over the past two decades, Dr. Jaakko Seikkula’s hospital team in Finland has advanced and refined “Open Dialogue,” a family and social network approach to first episode psychosis care, and this way of working has garnered widespread attention for dramatically improving outcomes.

Open Dialog de-emphasizes US-style pharmaceutical intervention and instead establishes a dialogue with the patient, provides immediate help, and organizes “a treatment meeting” within twenty-four hours of the initial contact. The results consistently show that this way of working reduces hospitalization, lowers use of medication, and leads to less recurrance of crisis when compared with psychosis treatment as usual. For example, in a five-year follow-up (Seikkula et al. 2006), 83% of patients have returned to their jobs or studies or were job seeking, thus not receiving government disability. In the same study, 77% did not have residual psychotic symptoms.

Open Dialog is gaining growing support in the US after Robert Whitaker, in his book Anatomy of An Epidemic, featured Open Dialog as an effective alternative to the poor treatment outcomes associated with overuse of medications.

Portland Hearing Voices Director and local therapist Will Hall recently completed the first US workshop with Dr. Seikkula and his colleague Mary Olson in Open Dialog, four days at the Vallecitos Retreat in New Mexico. This introductory evening with Will will present his reflections on that workshop. (Open Dialog is a Finnish hospital clinical method based on 3 years+ training, and this Introduction does not represent the depth of that method, but instead reports on the workshop and serves to spark interest in learning more.)

For more information on Open Dialog, including a recent Madness Radio interview with Open Dialog practitioner Mary Olson and articles by Olson and Seikkula, please go to