Open Dialogue

In the far north of Finland, a stone’s throw from the Arctic Circle, a group of innovative family therapists converted the area’s traditional mental health system, which once boasted some of Europe’s poorest outcomes for schizophrenia, into one that now gets the best statistical results in the world for first-break psychosis.  They call their approach Open Dialogue.

open dialogue_image_largerTheir principles, though radical in this day and age of multi-drug cocktails and involuntary hospitalizations, are surprisingly simple.  They meet clients in crisis immediately and often daily until the crises are resolved.  They avoid hospitalization and its consequential stigma, preferring to meet in the homes of those seeking their services.  And, perhaps most controversially, they avoid the use of anti-psychotic medication wherever possible.

They also work in groups, because they view psychosis as a problem involving relationships.  They include in the treatment process the families and social networks of those seeking their help, and their clinicians work in teams, not as isolated, sole practitioners.  Additionally, their whole approach values of the voice of everyone in the process, most especially the person directly in crisis.  And finally, they provide their services, which operate within the context of Finnish socialized medicine, for free.

Open Dialogue weaves together interviews with psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, and journalists to create both a powerful vision of medication-free recovery and a hard-hitting critique of traditional psychiatry.

NOTE:  I have decided to place all of my films on Youtube for free, because I want to share them with the world.  You can still purchase DVDs of the films if you wish, but I don’t want money to stop anyone from receiving their message.  Here’s to a revolution in the mental health industry!



(DVD and trailer also available with subtitles in English)

110 thoughts on “Open Dialogue

  1. Daniel, thank you very much for all your work. I have a question – what books or content of yours or someone else’s do you recommend for ADHD?

  2. Since you’ve written this I’ve noted from searches that peer-supported Open Dialogue is becoming a thing, with a conference in the UK. This strikes me as something you’d support, as it would reverse the power hierarchy, not to mention significantly affect the business model of mass therapy.

    Have you looked at Peer-supported Open Dialogue? What’s your impression? I’ve not seen much about the details, but I’ve been involved with Insight Dialogue, trying to combine meditation with talking, and what struck me from that is that the best help goes both ways. When you remove power dynamics, being vulnerable in a simple way helps both parties.

    • Hi Matthew,
      I have been following the Open Dialogue develops, though I follow at a distance. Basically, the big problem I’ve seen with all the new manifestations of Open Dialogue is that they’re practicing “Open Dialogue” (some form of family therapy) on people who are already medicated, and one of the key things that the Finns did, and which I noted in my film, is that they were giving almost no one medications. It’s a huge difference. For that reason I’m not a big fan of these new Open Dialogue incarnations. Fundamentally they’re more of “psychiatry as usual.” Yes, they bring in so-called peers, which can be good in some ways, but I have seen quite a lot of cases where the peers themselves are medicated or are pushing meds, and sometimes are just cheaper versions of therapists. Or, if they really want to speak out about the dangers of meds and speak about their own profound healing journeys (as I’ve met some who really do want to speak out) they are squelched by the supposedly “non-hierarchical” system, even by their “peers.” Basically, I find modern Open Dialogue to be a big disappointment, in all sorts of ways… Sad…

      • Always a pleasure that you respond still! Yes, medication IS a problem! Yet, consumers (as called in NAMI) have been organizing ourselves. I was diagnosed with many psych issues, tried meds, eventually found dual diagnosis folks (substance reliant aka abuse with mental health challenges).

        With social media at our fingertips, we can “talk” to one another and provide an Open Dialog experience in a safe home setting.

        Of course, the first “break” often young adults 16-24 are so lost… and parents/friends even more so! Case: the Moscow stabbing suspect blogged at age 16 about feeling nothing when looking in his parents eyes, feeling like a sack of meat, feeling like he was in a video game and could do anything without consequence…

  3. A lot of conversation in the first video was about how the importance of family in sessions are. What I would like to know though, do they treat people who do not have a family or strong friend network. For instance if I were to take a session, I do not have anyone to bring along. My families inability to communicate and love is part of my psychosis as i have always internalised my thoughts. How effective is this treatment sessions when the person does not have family/friends to help them?

    • Open Dialogue in Tornio where it has been practiced now about 35 years suits everybody regardless on how many friends or relatives you have. If you have none, then they’ll see you on your own I travelled from Australia to Finland in 2011 with my daughter to meet Jaakko Seikkula and to spend 4 days at Keroputaa psychiatric hospital in Tornio as a visitiing psychologist to learn more about Open Dialogue than I had read from Internet. I became 100% convinced that this is the type of treatment we should have all over the world. I became an Open Dialogue advocate. At that stage my daughter had been treated by Public Mental Health Services in Australia for more than a decade for chronic severe mental illnesses under the Biomedical model. It took her straight down the gurgle. I started to push for Open Dialogue principles to her treatment. Since then she has written two excellent books on her life and treatment of mental illness: The Girl in the Mirror and Angel in the Mirror Road to recovery.. See

  4. Hello Daniel,
    I was going through Dr. Peter Breggin’s videos and Open Dialogue approaches to treat mental illnesses. I am worried about one of my friends who’ve had 3 psychotic episodes over a period of five years. He has been on anti-psychotics and such relapse apparently happens after 3-4 months of discontinuing medicine. I read about the horrendous side-effects of the anti-psychotics and wish if medicines can be minimized or eliminated for him along with a combination approach of open dialogue. But I am not aware of anybody practising such approaches in India. However, I personally believe that open dialogue approcahes can be very successful in India as we have a good family and social support in India, unlike the western countries.

    It will be great help if you could suggest somebody practicing open dialogue or similar approaches in India.
    Many Thanks

    • Hi Deepika,
      Greetings. The problem with Open Dialogue is that it is intended for people with a first-time psychosis. There is no evidence that it is helpful for people who have already been on the medications. I know of one good program (never visited it, though) in India. In Pune. I have heard that it is the best program for psychosis in India.

      The organization is called “the red door“. Here is their Facebook page, and I think there are links to their website and more work there:

      It is connected with a famous Indian woman named Val Resh, who recovered from schizophrenia without medication. I have a link to a movie about her, and you might find it valuable.

      best wishes to you and your friend!

      P.S. I was in India for a couple of months in 2019. I had an amazing time.

  5. Thank you for sharing these videos. I have a 34 year old daughter who lived in Sweden for 12 years she became Schizophrenic after be divorced by her husband who took her child away. She had partial custody but lost it when she became partially blind from a bacterial eye infection. We brought her home and she is in USA living with us she is not medicated but becomes quite angry shouting at her voices she hears. I would like to find a Therapist in the area of Florida where we live as she does not want to take medication. We got one of her eyes fixed so she can see. The therapist would need to accept Medicaid as she is indigent. Thank you.

  6. Hi Daniel..
    Your ideas on the subject are refreshing. My son has been diagnosed with drug induced psychosis 4 years now. Wondering if you could recommend an open dialogue practitioner in Sydney.
    Thank you so much

    • Hi Pina,
      Alas, I don’t know any Open dialogue practitioners in Sydney. However, if you can connect with ISPS in Australia there is a man named Phil Benjamin and he would be able to direct you better. I don’t have his email offhand though. Warm greetings and good luck, Daniel

  7. Daniel,

    I just wanna say thank you. Your video saved my sister’s life!

    My sister had depression for years and it turned into mental disorder at the end and she went into psychological hospital in USA for three times within a month. When we were so desperate, I saw your file about Finland healing method by random. Then I bought a book about open dialogue and tried to apply on my sister. I arranged countless of family members. Because we went back to our home, Hong Kong, and there are no professional psychologist familiar with open dialogue here. So I tried very hard to follow the characteristics of open dialogue during family meetings in the last year. I am so glad I did because it really works!!! My sister got recovered and no long need medicine now. And by continuously using open dialogue, I am confident that my sister will be stable in the future.

    I wanna thank you again that u have spread such an idea to me. It saved my sister’s life! Her mental issue was once so serious that I was not able to believe she would have a chance to get better. That was a miracle. Thank you very much!


      • Daniel and Lily: I have followed Open Dialog and Daniel for many years. I know the process works! I have family members and friends I met through NAMI (National Association of Mental Illness) that are completely thriving! It is a very labor intense approach but it works. Daniel, I let people know every day how you sacrificed your livelihood to get the message out!!!

        • I am planning to move to Canada from Hong Kong in the nearly future. Also thinking about switching my career, and hopefully will find some role related to helping people with open dialogue. Do you guys know if open dialogue is getting more popular in Canada? And is it possible for me to find a related job if I don’t have a psychology degree? Is there any authorized course about open dialogue? I am working in the financial industry but want to devote my career to something more meaningful. Thanks!

  8. Hi Daniel, I have watched your video several times and also shown it to others or told others to get a copy since 2011 when I visited Jaakko Seikkula at Jyvskyla University and spent four days at Keroputaa Hospital in Tornio, Finland as a visiting psychologist from Australia. That’s when I first saw your video which catches Open Dialogue very well . It gives hope to people who are either struggling with mental illness or are their carers and friends. It is also an eye opener to clinicians. I have been advocating for Open Dialogue since my visit to Finland when I became 100 % convinced that this is how people with mental illness should be treated.

    Lumi Winterson wrote a book ” The Girl in the Mirror” about her life with schizophrenia, self harming and suicide attempts, biomedical model of treatment and diagnosis changing from one psychiatrist to another pushing her down the gurgle to hell for years and years. Now two decades later she has finally stepped on the road leading towards.recovery. It required a move from public to private mental health services and eventually adaptation of key Open Dialogue principles to her treatment. Over the last few years she has managed to develop a trusting relationship with her treatment team, continuity of clinical personnel, mother, long- distance relatives and a circle of friends as her social supportnetwork and treatment team. Last year she was well enough to write her story and had it self published by Xlibris Publishing Company. It is available from Online bookshops including Xlibris in soft and hard cover as well as an e-book.

    Fiona Orr of University of Technology Sydney “The Girl in the Mirror” to be “very honest, poignant and hope inspiring account of the author’s experiences of living with schizophrenia and its effects, including the use of health services and stigma by others”. She considered the book to be an important contribution to the understanding of schizophrenia from an expert by experience. She had books ordered for the university library and listed it as a reference book for two third year mental health subjects due to “the insights this book provides of living with schizophrenia”. The book has received excellent recommendations and reviews from professionals such as professor Niels Boos who is conducting research to Open Dialogue here in Australia, psychiatrists, GPs, psychologist, nurses, teachers, occupational therapists, social workers as well as people living with mental illness and their carers.
    I recommend the book for anybody who wants to learn more about mental illness and its treatment. I hope like Lumi that people have an opportunity to learn from her extensive experience and inside knowledge so they may not need to walk the same journey as Lumi did. It would be great to get it placed as recommended reading on reference lists for appropriate university courses to give a human face to the theories.
    I am a carer, retired psychologist and strong advocate for Open Dialogue.

  9. Seems now there is a website being built for Open Dialogue approaches all over the world, so it should be useful.
    I find the film by Daniel so encouraging and it sent me on a journey to find out more and now I am quite familiar with those processes and whereabouts, so I think this new website will greatly improve the search for many. Amazing it took so long for these methods to be tried out outside Finland, but I guess things are not so easy to change, we are all set in our ways of thinking and so we move slow. I think this is one of the better things I came across to help my own thinking broaden and develop faster. Many will immediately connect when they see the film…of course this is how these things work, but we only find the film through some search words, maybe there could be a string of words bringing up the film…I think in the end I found it through ref from Whittaker. Thanks for making it! As is being done, the way forward is to spread the film as well as OD websites through many searchwords.

  10. Hi there,

    I am a mental health worker in South Australia and I am intrigued in investigating alternative ways of responding to acute mental distress other than the ways that are currently dominant (and have been for some time). I am wondering if you have any ideas of where in the world there are some ways like Open Dialogue, Hearing Voices approaches, etc in public systems.

    And thank you for your most informative videos!

    • hi sarah — greetings. well, in NYC there’s the parachute project (a fair amount on the web about it), which is sort of open-dialogueish, and there’s a fair amount going on in the UK with both hearing voices stuff being incorporated into the system and also open dialogueish stuff taking off inside the system. i don’t follow all the details of where it’s happening specifically but i hear about it popping up here and there……. maybe here’s a good resource: also, i’d google “open dialogue” on and see what you find…. also, and — she’s a winner! greetings from nyc — daniel p.s. i know i was in contact with some folks in adelaide who were really curious about open dialogue…..not exactly sure what they’re up to but it sounded good. i was actually in adelaide a couple of times in 1993. hitchhiked there from melbourne (got snowed on at night in the grampians, my coldest experience in australia) and then hitchhiked up north from there….port pirie? up to alice… many memories!! greetings!! daniel

    • also — in australia have you checked out ? phil benjamin of isps would know what’s going on with open dialogue and probably hearing voices stuff in australia. i know ron coleman and his wife started some hearing voices groups back when… and tassie i think, but not sure if they’re still going…….. daniel

  11. I’ve been recovered from my illness for several years now. When I was first picking up the pieces your “broken wings” documentary helped me believe that there was a good chance my clarity was going to last for the rest of my life, which after a traumatic period like I had, was essential at the time.

    Now what seems like an eon later, I’ve just seen this doc and I’m blown away. My first attempt to get help was such a disaster, basically they gave me meds and treated me like I was too stupid to understand what their theories were about what was happening to me, or I’d be too offended. In retrospect I realize they were practicing defensive medicine, and had zero confidence in their ability to talk to me as an equal, since they were too afraid to admit to me that they don’t understand everything, when all they had to do was share what they knew. The open dialogue method was open to them, the same theories and evidence, they just didn’t have the cultural philosophy to do that, which is a shock in retrospect.

    The way I think about my recovery is the paradigm of science and experiment. All of the tools and things I have learned that contribute to my health I can trace to scientific theories on how the brain/body/universe works. For example, CBT works for me, I can see how the beliefs and thoughts correspond to networks and connections in my brain, which lead to emotions, emotions that evolved to keep me alive long enough to reproduce. Emotions and biology the aret imperfect, because I evolved, and this helps me manage my expectations, since things aren’t “supposed” to work out all the time even if I do everything right. And why did this malfunction take place in the first place? 16-24 for males! Something to do with a stage of brain development that goes haywire. I’m not a scientist, but that tiny bit of a theory would have been monumental to understand acutely at the time.

    And if there is something that isn’t working, I can do experiments and test the theories and work on them. Become a scientist, always updating, always improving. So I’m always getting better. I think that is what the Open Dialogue method contributes most significantly to the patients ability to recover, being a part of the process like that, thinking in such a way, leads them to start thinking in this way on their own. That’s what it seems like to me anyways. I don’t harbor resentment towards the people who failed to help me mitigate a greater disaster, it’s kind of a cultural thing. Watching this documentary and learning about how these people are with their patients. The honesty, the respect for people, an exemplary culture of what the scientific method and evolution is all about, made me very emotional. Great work Daniel, I wish you all the best.

    • Yes. I left psychoanalytic therepeutic community without even learning the existence of the subconscious.

      I later read stuff and raged why didn’t they tell me this.

      Asked Cognitive analytic therapist can you tell me about the theory she said Its too complex…

  12. Hi Daniel,

    I am the Clinical Director of a program that works with young adults, many of whom are diagnosed with psychotic disorders. My program owns the Open Dialogue movie (I think we bought the copy for private use), and I was hoping to show it to program participants, staff and parents at a group next week, and wanted to ask permission first.
    Please advise.
    Thanks you.

    • go for it, Sara — you have my permission! Feel free to write here (in this comment section, if you wish!) how the screening goes—-
      all the best,

  13. Hallo Daniel,

    I am trying to contact you, because I need a bill for the open dialogue film, which i ordered from you in January, This is nescessary, so that I can get the money back from my hospital.
    We are running a project in our hospital to implement open dialogue and the film is very helpful to illustrate this kind of work
    I visited Tornio in 2008 myself and I find the film ctches the athmosphere and the main ideas of open dialogue in an excellent way.
    Rolf MIchels

    • Greetings Rolf,
      I have just sent you the receipt — let me know if you need anything else. Also, good to hear what you share — and thank you!!
      all the best,

  14. Hi, Daniel. I feel very identified with your ideas. I had a very traumatic childhood because my father used to abuse me physically and psychologically.
    While I was on a two year trip across India and Nepal doing meditation I began to experience psychotic symptoms. Later I was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
    Watching your documentaries has been extremely inspirational and I would like to try a treatment where I could come off of psych drugs. I was looking for something like that since long ago. I would do anything to heal myself without having to take drugs. I even would like to travel to Finland or anywhere where I could get this kind of help. The problem is that I have little money, but I don’t care. I know I will be able to find the way. Can you help me?
    I live in Bogotá, Colombia and I’m 27. Thank you!

    • hi carlos,
      hmm….honestly, it’s hard to find any place where it’s good to come off drugs, and especially a program that charges any reasonable price. finland (open dialogue, that is) is not a place that even specializes in helping people come off drugs. they specialize in helping people and families work through crises so they don’t have to get on drugs in the first place. lots of people, by the way, get off psych drugs on their own, with local support. that often seems to be the best. find good local supports, not necessarily professionals at all….. i don’t know anyone to really help in bogota, though…hmm…… wishing you the best!! daniel

      • Hi, Daniel. Thanks for your quick reply. I found a place called Bradford Soteria House over Rufus May’s web site as it is hard to find local support in my country and even in Latin America. I already contacted them over the phone and they told me to write back by email. However, I haven’t write back because I want to be more informed about these subjects (I’d like to finish watching your documentaries, for example). What do you think of the place? Did you hear about it before?

        Best regards.

        • they’re very nice at soteria-bradford but as far as i know they are aimed to help people who are british citizens, as they are in northern england. also, soteria wasn’t conceived as a place to help people come off psych drugs. i worked at soteria-alaska in 2012 and we weren’t geared to help people from outside of alaska, and primarily soteria was intended for people before they got on their medications…

  15. nevermind my last message with trash, open dialogue is good because I would have gotten hellp for sleep depprivation first before they somehow make out the antipscyhtoic works for someone who is just really sleep deprived, it makes sense…pity I don’t,,, but I am on huge dose of antipscyhtoic and its not working I smoke too much marijuana because of the high dose and my astral lover is angry at me for this, because sometimes I trip and its really hard on her, she made me solumnly swear not to smoke again but I still did tahts why she’s upset.

    again daniel do you know of any good pscyhaitrists or anything in melbourne victoria to wake up my psychiatrist, I am on CTO so I doubt anything will be able to help.

    I just gonna see if I can get onto orals and recover from what the antipsychotic is doing to destroy my life, dunno how long it will take to recover, I have lost everything all my interests and skills I do nothing all day but sleep since increases, I used to be more intelligent but they killed me its not fair at all.

    I watched the documentary about 3times already its very good I sharaed it with everyone imprortant in victoria to see better treatemtn for those that wish to recover with0out the antipscyhotic which is the norm so it seems from other studies aswell, its about time the drug industries backed down and let some good science creep into pscyhiatry if thats possible, I hope your documetnary gets more views.

    • what I really should be going for is using open dialogue for my advance directive advanced statemtn…It would be good for them to have guidlines I could use for mine to educate the pscyha9itrist in reading that I just need help and comfortable environmetn to recover from sleep deprivation, tahts all its ever been and I recover once I sleep but they think its because they gave you antipscyhotic, but still have a lot to say and get arguementative…my advanced statemtn Ir ealy want it so I don’t even need to get into debates about taking medcition when open diallogue could be taught in my advancced statemtnet????? can you help me with an idea like this? or maybe I get off this CTO get off the drugs and write my official one, already written one about letting me recover from sleep depreivation, but I mentioned my astraal girlfreind as tahts all the good stuff that has happened to me..the celbrity turend into more of an enemy and something to fear coming as things turend to shit from the antipscyhotic things were good for a while then I fell ill to it…only ever really experienced her when off antipscyhotic, I only lost it because I got sleep deprived over traumatic memoreies like remembering taht I had been hung in a noose and I thought it was a joke but it was attemtped murtder, one guy went to jail for something else he was from out of twon and a acar accident from drunk Pplate driver trying to pass a caraivan with a truk coming the other way didn’t have enough power and cut off the varivan becaause I grabbed the steering wheel and I didnt want him to pass of course but he was a dumb fuck…so we drove off as he had been drining and it was covered up…I forgot about it…both times led to a hospital admission so open dialogue could probably uncover what had happened as I would have talked about the work and maybe might have bbeen triggered to remember the accident,,, anyway I was left to remember years later in 2011 after 6yerase out of the system but it stirred resentmetns with family and they had helped me move house so I only just moved and fellint sleep deprivation and stress over the truamatic memories and night sweats and shit, relaly no good it was hrorible but what happened to me was worse…oh yeah I had a cele brity astral lover…wasn’t till she released the song on the radio that I spazzed out and started telling the shrinks about it, they not listen anyway and don;t see the full picture that no wrong came of me expect over extitemant and indulgence and sleep deprivation again, so much seemed to be happening at the smae time or I lived 8days a week…won;t go on I have already written a lot.

  16. I’ve got a slow internet but am attemtping to download the video I havew a problem with psychiatrists in melbourne victoria, do you know where I could find a lead to get a good second opinion to give to the authorities to get a better deal and an appology for fucking my life up, nobody knows what the antipsychotics do, they make me feel suicidal but now I have an astral lover from anothher planet that doesn’t allow me to feel suicidal, she really loves me but I am unable to feel her love, since meeting her I am no longer at risk to be off antipscyhotics, my mnew lover is better then a celebrity astral lover that I had for a while but the antipscyhhotics bllocked it out for times i got off she would come back but never really asked why I disapeared and could no longer love her or have astral visitation untill time dark horse come on the radio and she stayed with me during hosptial stay tonguing the pills and eventually liquid form….I don’t talkk about the celebrity anymore because of the new girlfreind….so as you can see lately its about my astraal projection, I refused treatmetn for a while and a celebrity astral lover appeared to me after getting her attention in this dream of flying and transforming desplay out the window of her airoplane, things were good back then and had good astral sex, but she used to keep me up all night, wouldn’t suspect any problems with my new more highly evolved lover from another planet. won’t get into too muuch of what makes me sound crazy but the girl manifested herself when I was on leave from hospital in the car park in the distance whistled and waved and I heared her say to herself “I wonder if he knows its me” now my new astral lover is probably capable of something similar but I need to get off antipsychotic to be aligned to my higherself and less obstructions and in voiding and fearing the astral under the authoritty of psychaitry that make it out to be a symptom of an illness, just degraded like that and the drugs make it really fucked when able to have 4th dimetnional astral visitiation and stuff arrives to fuck me up, as I said somewhere else, meditation healed this to get some peace with it all going wrong or I tended to send them all to the pschiatrists, but they don’t think they deserve it but they do….

    so I only talk about the celebrity coming back last time I refused treatment, she was a marker for stuff going right on the astral plane and indeed made me float like a bird without a cage. its because she triggered a voyage into the hyperspace above the earth where beings are, I call them gods they are slugs but transform into about anything I first discovered it with a severe episode of sleep deprivation adn coming off a horrible short halflife drug called ziprasidone so I went back coming off treatmetn to further evolve in what area of my life they are holding back…..the celebruty would come up too and got ejected from this space so I showed her the alien life I had come accross other times I refused treatmetn and thats how it started they showed me another place to visit and then they showed me heaven or what seemed like heaven and higher to land of the gods and up higher still where i found my girlfriend more recently these butterfly outline purple lighted creatures beyond the land of the archangels. that later when I went back after the archangels showed me a tablet of my twin flame, she is in outerspace and am being restricted from experiencing……..I wonder what an open dialogue treatment be like to share my story about astral projection and maybe let me get into it more, its part of my evolution as an esoteric. the pscyhiatrists just say I have chronic delusions of grandeur regarding spirituality. it really is a crime so as I said if you know of a way to get better help to come off antipscyhhotics and get into my astral lover I would be gratefull……sorry I mentioned the celebrity astral lover…..her album is called prism and has some nifty songs like darkhorse….I still sound crazy, she became really mean once the iatrogenic illness took hold with this dose of haloperidole she still come to me but was really mean, this again is iatrogenic suffering on the astral plane nnow I am a dunce and sitting duck for times some cannabis use will allow for tripping, I found breathing exercises to really help and my warriorship training that I had in 6years freedom from psychiatry where I developed a very taoist philosophy and read a lot about it in martial art philosophy. so I didn’t really even need something like open dialogue just good food, sleep and my meditation and chi-gung, they just made it all into something that needed medication , for my rationalising of spiritual experience, the astral world was poking its head up and the astral lover and stuff, got sleep deprived and was wanting justice for what happened to me before past adnissions when myh family would worry about me and send me to the shrinks, they were the opiate…they didn’t know abbout the astral lovers until the song came on the radio and I boasted about it since I was her astral lover for a while. so it went on for a while, maybe with open dialogue it would have remained a total secret despite the song coming on the radio and all was lost other times but she could still appear to me, my life fell apart from under me but she was the one thing that kept me going through hosptital, then become mean to me when I fighting the iatrogenic illness and no longer share love, I have no love its really mean what antipscyhotics do.

    Its hard not to go on tangents to be able to bring everything up being this brain dead, am really getting hard time being heared….have optamistically shared this page with the psychhiatrists and victoria’s new mental health complaints commissioner because it supports the fact that psychiatric diagnosis’s are not illness’s at all , its a myth , hope I said it better to them, I talk about the iatrogenic illnenss that is schizophrenia, stuff like really bad negative symptomes from the drugs, they just see my decline as something to give me more medication with the delusion that it will fix me up, instead of listening to the fact that themedication is fucking me up. really angry situation, hope they order you public veiwing liscenced edition of this, I am sure it will be good. the trailer gave me a lot of hope for this to make an impact on the pharmaceutical alliance and put some truth into the pseudoscience of psychaitry.

    • my girlfreind made me solumnly swear not to smoke marijauna and broke up with me because I trip some nights when I smoke marijuana, but its the pscyhaitrists fault the antipscyhotic….anyway I fucked up big time. but we got back to gether but now when I smoke marijana she doesn’t be nice and let me stay even though marijauana is the only reason I had really strong visitation, the tripping sessions late at night are not so good, I get the shakes my whole body convulses, think its gonna kill me, the celbrity managed to make it so I would still get visitation while on antipscyhotic, i introduced her to beings I met on an interplanitaary journey of the universe, all good things that didn’t make me seem to be ill but very happy to be having an astral journey so tures out even though I was hospitalised for refusing treatment and they gave me moore drugs and took my advancemetns in astrall travel to be dellusions or something, so the celbrity could still visit me and I would smoke marijana and she was able to visit me easier although uncomfortablle after awhile then we fell out coz I such a mess on antispcyhotic and then started to be mean to me, did I already say that? so now I still get trips but stuff comes to fuck with me, the celbrity currently dosesn’t visit but sticks up for me if she does end up in trips….

      enjoying a smoke of the fat weed currently although my girlfreind doesn’t allow it, maybe I could have gone without and save my money and upsetting her not sure what to do maybe I could then say I dont have an astral girlfreind anymore, like a load off but I know things will turne really good when I find a way off antipscyhtoic, then I won;t need to smoke marijauna and the astral will be normmal again and get feelings associated to visiation and none of this shit with drawing on rapists and shit to make it difficult for her to visit earth, my own fault I spoke of her pleasure openly and achieving an orgasm while smoking a cigarrette, the sensation was amazing and very lucky to eperience things heaating up on antipscyhotic but only for a short while maybe becuase I was talking about it and upsetting people…she never liked marijuana but these beings I had a s guide that are ET creataures giants black, feathured, but they not much good now only really make sure I dont get up for cigarrettes when I am tripping in bed…lucky for me once daylight strikes it all calms down but loose a night of sleep, the celbrity never used to keep me up when things turned nasty for me….I am just hopeless now can’t be anybodys astral lover but the girlfriend comes closest for having lover experience even on antipscyhotictic, not at harm by anyof this, but now I upset my girlfriend things aren;t as good. so maybe I better give up weed, gonna be hard or get on lower dose of antipscyhotic somehow since there is order to collaborate with me about dosages etc and for them to take risks but think my psychaitrist swho is used to the old law where psychaitrist rules the patient, i mean its just new law for victoria and they only put me on 12week CTO so won’t be long until I play the game right and get onto orals and use rauwolfia serpentina to detaroy the excess dopamine receptors, has a relaly smart antipscyhotic evffect also works on GABA neurotrasmitter and used in nigeria with similar species of plant.

  17. Please let me know if you know of any possible help I can get or contacts who would be helpful in Eastern Canada. I live in Ottawa, and I am in desperate need for something better than medication for my daughter. I have also seen that there is a clinic in Massachusetts – do you know anything about this clinic?
    Any help would be appreciated – it churns my stomach to feed my daughter medication that only makes her sleepy and unmotivated to do anything.

    Thank you so much

    • perhaps the clinic of which you write is windhorse? i know them — they are one of the best in the USA — but expensive!!! they help some people and perhaps are not right for others — but either way you have to have a lot of money. there is a french-speaking clinic that is famous in quebec — called “le 388” or “GIFRIC” — if your daughter is french-speaking!! all the best, daniel

  18. Hi Daniel.
    Thanks very much for your film. I watched it on YouTube tonight in preparation for presenting a case study at a conference later this year around working therapeutically and relationally with hallucinations, based on the work of the intersubjectivists (e.g. Stolorow, Atwood, Orange). Different approaches with similar premises to OD, it seems to me.

    There is a comment from the Professor in your documentary around the 33 min mark which I just wanted to clarify – he says “it’s in a way a metaphorical way to speak of things that beforehand did not have any words to speak about”. Is he speaking of hallucinations specifically here, do you think?

    Thanks Daniel,

    • greetings Bree. i haven’t watched the film in a few months, but i think he was referring to it in the way that you suggested. he could also be talking about so-called “delusions”, though — as they, to me, are also metaphors for the unspeakable and in many ways unthinkable…..
      wishing you the best, and thank you—

  19. Interestingly the appointment of peer workers in the Kemi team formed about 50% of our almost 3 hour conversation with the team that day as they are about to set up a peer group and wanted our advice and ideas.

  20. Last month another peer worker and myself from Scotland went to visit the Open Dialogue Team in Western Lapland, having viewed the inspirational work being done there on Daniel’s excellent DVD. My hopes were totally confirmed by the way four members of the team passionately spoke about the positive changes they had seen in people just by adopting a non-clinical way of being with people during a crisis. They were willing to drop their guards and openly share their own humanity as a team working with compassion and a genuine desire to see that person recover. Mia Kurtti put it succinctly: “There is nothing special we do here. We listen to people.” And the results in terms of recovery rates are incontestably positive…We were told that we were the first peers to visit the project, hopefully not the last…My local mental health team in Scotland are now interested in the training Mia gives as she takes the approach out to other countries…Hope is Always.

    • thank you for sharing this, Lorraine. I am very happy. also, I hope Ela from Australia reads this — she was suggesting in the comments on this website that “peers” are incorporated into Finnish Open Dialogue — and this sounds like a great step toward that. –Daniel

  21. Hi Daniel! First of all… thank you!
    I´m writting to you because we are as a family going through the horrible and terrifiyng process of eqz… one of our members is on this journey and is still on “first episode” I´m really scared, specially on the use of medication. Where we live every person has to take it… if required (100% of the cases!!!) … if they are telled to…
    I don´t want this! your films makes it real that there is a cure to eqz without medication… the only thing is… what to do? … I mean… I don´t believe in medication, but I don´t think we have too many choices… I believe this kind of treatment requires certificated people to do it… right? Don´t think we can find someone working in “open dialogue” here… is there a way to communicate with you privately?… what do you think about not taking the medication and going to a therapist with an “open dialogue way of thinking”? I know we as a family would do anything!… I´m really trying to find answers somewhere else than traditional western phsyquiatry!!! Please help!!

    • greetings Marce. Well, maybe there are some local people where you are at who have more wisdom than the traditional system. Maybe! It depends on where you are located. If you are not comfortable sharing that publicly (your location) just note that and I’ll write you backchannel. I just think it helps to share as much as possible publicly and then others can read it and see that they are not alone. all the best to you and your family!! Daniel

      • Hi Daniel; yes I´m not exactly comfortable sharing everything, and usually when I start talking about something I´m worried I can´t stop!!! but right now I´m feeling better about it, we are from Chile…
        during the weekend we talked about it in our family, because above all, the pshyquiatrist had suggested not no talk about diagnosis with the pacient yet, and she sent us to a mental health “instance/clinic” (I´m not sure about a translation to english for this) well the thing is, the pacient didn´t know about his posible diagnosis, from the beginning we felt this was a bad idea, it was wrong, we all felt as if we were cheating on him, but we followed this advise for a couple of weeks… it was so uncomfortable!!! it was like talking about the elephant in the room without mentioning it!so we decided to tell him, I think we love him too much to hide things from him… he is very Smart, and I think a lot of what he says is absolutely true, some other things are well… a bit odd… but anyway I don´t think traditional psychiatry is ready to hear about theories… I´m an OT(I work with children though), so I told him what I thought for example… maybe what he says is absolutely right, but the amount of time and energy he spends thinking over and over and not doing anything else… I talked a lot about a lot of things with him, but only after telling him what the psychiatrist had said… and I think talking about it, and communicating in a real honest way was very good for everyone… we could show our conserns, fears…

        on the other hand he was and is still seeing a psycologist who thinks otherwise, he was doing all right with her but it was on my perspective too Little time maybe…
        he got to a psychiatrist because there was one day he was feeling really distressed and he had been feeling like that for a while but hadn´t talk before, he felt overrun whenever someone tried to jump in and help…he wasn´t ready to accept he needed help… after we talked about everything, he understood a lot of things, he now knows we are all toghether in this, we are not trying to interfere in his life, and we are all scared… I do believe the psychologist (and I want to beleive her too) has a much open view in fact she doesn´t want him to take meds… the psychiatrist gave him some … while we wait for a definitive diagnosis, I´m not sure about this… that´s why we are scared… the psychiatrist is certain about the diagnosis, the psychologist is also certain … what do we do???….
        Thank you for Reading and answering, I don´t usually participate on this kind of things… via internet I mean
        But told you I´m too worried and I can´t stop talking once I start!!

        thanks and hoping to hear from you son

        • hi Marce,
          i wish i knew what to say. not easy — complex. and the system is very powerful and confident in its ideas, which often are quite backward. i think the whole idea of diagnosis is very silly and often very hurtful…..stupid, really. but so many people, and professionals, believe it, almost like a religion….no questioning. i wish you luck — i really do not know exactly what to offer……

  22. Saw the trailer…. I am purchasing as a show of support! Thank G-d you have the courage to find true healing…..I live in Los Angeles area…if you know of others working to create a healing Open Dialogue approach, please connect me. I work at a very large well known hospital and though my job is not in mental health, I do have contacts with physicians who need to see this movie. I plan on having a showing. I will need the actual license (purchased public viewing) and hope it is I included, so I can promote widely. Thank you! Kindly, Hedi

    • Hedi,
      thank you!!!! there are some efforts to bring Open Dialogue to the USA, mostly in Massachusetts and a sort-of-version of it in New York City called the Parachute Project NYC. but even with Open Dialogue in Finland, it took them a while to develop and implement it well… meanwhile, i will email you backchannel. all the best,

  23. Hola Daniel,
    Gracias por el magnífico trabajo que estás haciendo.
    Tengo un hermano diagnosticado de esquizofrenia desde hace unos veinte años, destrozado física y mentalmente por la cantidad de sobremedicación recibida. También tengo un hijo muy joven al que hace cuatro años le han diagnosticado el mismo trastorno.
    Después de la amarga experiencia sufrida por mi hermano hermano, no puedo permitir que mi hijo siga su mismo camino.
    Necesitamos una ayuda que en su centro de salud no nos ofrecen, para ellos no hay alternativas a la medicación y no sabemos a quién acudir.No se si conoces en España terapeutas que estén familiarizados con este tipo de enfoque. Si conoces a alguno te agradecería que me facilitaras su nombre.

    Gracias y saludos desde España

    M. Dolores

    • Estimada Dolores;
      Te escribo pues estoy en la primera situación que describes… no quiero que tome medicación! esto está recién partiendo para nosotros, proceso diagnóstico por ahora…. tampoco se a quien recurrir… acá tampoco tengo acceso a esta terapia… he estado buscando información al respecto y hay muy poco… pero me llena de esperanza que sea una posibilidad real, durante mi práctica trabajé en salud mental y psiquiatría de adultos en el modelo tradicional, si bien estoy especializada en niños, hoy he pensado seriamente en investigar el tema con miras a poder visualizar estos procesos desde la infancia y poder prevenirlos, pero no se como partir… espero que Daniel se comunique pronto y de corazón te deseo lo mejor!!!!!!!!!!! Un abrazo

  24. Hey Daniel,

    I’d greatly appreciate your help as I’m very keen to watch your film. I’m currently working on a film with an open dialogue group and a play happening in London. I’d love to view your work but it would need to be in this week so cannot wait for shipping. Is there anyway to access an electronic version please?

    Any help much appreciated

    Very best,

  25. Hi Daniel,

    I’m an journalist aiming to do a piece on Open Dialogue in a short time line. I’ve messaged you via the Paypal message field too.

    Is it possible to download an electronic version, or please request the favour of expedited/express shipping?

    Thanks a lot

  26. This is Yuta Yamashiro at Open University in Japan.

    I watched your DVD and re-found that clinical psychologists should be thought as important therapist for clients in crisis. In Japan, doctors are main therapist but pychologists are not think so, just thought alternative of medical therapy.

    Thank you for your film. I got motivated to study.

    • Greetings Yuta — I’m glad to hear from you. Thank you for your perspective. Yes, I have seen other places where only medical doctors are considered qualified therapists. I think it’s not a good idea!! I think most anyone with a healthy life and a good heart and a deep caring for other people could potentially become a useful therapist to someone in crisis, regardless of their university degree or training.
      all the best to you,

      • Dear Daniel. I am a writer living in Montreal. I am currently writing a memoir about schizophrenia. I am trying to read everything I can from Mad in America and Open Dialogue as I see first hand how antipsychotic medication has ruined the lives of so many over the long term. I work as a volunteer at the Douglas Hospital. For four years my method has been to love these people back to health. They are PEOPLE. The doctors and nurses and many of the social workers have large caseloads. Of course it’s their first line of defense to give meds. It’s much easier and less time-consuming than the far better approach which is CBT and real relationship support.
        My book is called The Ghost Garden. I was interested to read the post from the person who has astral relationships, what doctors would refer to as delusions. I too see these relationships as metaphorical but can we really say that souls, living and dead, do not meet in another realm??
        I truly love my work. Over the years I have had many people I work with die. The tangential problems of cigarettes and marijuana are a big factor but when we shut down the reward centers with antipsychotics I understand completely the need to feel pleasure.
        I also loved the post that mentioned healing can take place when the caregiver offers wisdom and love and makes people who suffer with psychosis feel heard and loved and purposeful. That a psychiatrist is not the only first line of care. I have so much to share but I will sign off . Susan

        • thanks for mentioning me in your comment, its true they would say its delusions, I say its part of my religiuos path to have meeting with beings on the astral plane so they say grandious religious delusions, plus I trying to expllain that they are coercing me not to follow my path, so I forgot to metnion the archangels that I would usually metnion if not on antipscyhtoics could have the archangels and very good high up beings by my side. I find it difficult to see how this could be delusions, I know waht a dleusion is perhaps through the astral many being could plant the seeds for deluison in our mind but the astral itself is something else that pscyhiaitry doesn’t have language for.

          You are right about the antipscyhtoic making people consume more marijuana, this happaned to me since increases I use far more and do a lot less around the house, I am in bed if not smoking a joint, having one now, its the only time I would have thoughts to put down in writing, but thoughts are very minimal, I just like talking about my crazy shit, the celebrity stuff got me in a lot of trouble and by the way only opening up about it because of something pscyhaitry has done to me , I think open dialogue would respect that its a private thing and not have some radical change where it becomes the topic of what I talk about, not sure whats going on but I do make myself sound crazy

          and the antipscyhotic means I don’t make much sense or not worth reading my material, makes it really difficult to use the mind to write down thoughts its all about the same stuff I am very limited, the only interest I have is with antipscyhitatry and astral stuff, trying to explain how its natural and I jsut have expanded perceptions to be abble to see astral stuff, not getting me anywhere with the shrinks they just say that is grandeur too saying I am better then most people bbecause I deal with the astral, some want to leave the astral for when they are dead, I just got a head start and hope not to get myslef in trouble with beings haunting my grave and so forth.

          The astrals make me solumnly swear not to smoke marijuana again, I trip out and do things automaticallyu bevause I don;’t have a mind to control what I do, so I messed with some mean massive god and I am fairly pwerfull so he made me solumnly swear not to smoke marijuaa again and allso said he was going to haunt my grave, I have had one death experience and was greeted by an angel, happened in psych ward allergic reaction t o a drug that made my tongue contort down my wind pipe, so hving my grave haunted is a big fear, don’t think he really will thats where I mean the delusions can come in from stuff you are told about stuff from the astral, its a dream world the stuff about events tah are happening are not true its just an illusion, so this is where delusion comes into it but I don’t see how it makes sense that dealing with the astral is technically a delusion, something ellse going on but I can’t explain it very good to the psychiatrist, why would I bother they are just using everything against me and secretly flltering everythng I say through judgemental lense of schizoprhenia.

          • my girlfreind made me solumnly swear not to smoke marijuana again but that is the only time I ever really c ame ons trong to actually teleport to live at her place, so not sure what is going on with the trips tah I blame the pscyhaitrists and the antipscyhotic on what bad stuff happens and how I get stuff attacking me some nights and I shake uncontrolably in my thighs and buttocks up into my chest my jaw waseven shaking I getting pain from tension, its soemthing to do with my right to ascend, when ascension comes on I get this shaking It really terrible, but marijuana is the only time I would possilbely ascend, not sure what to do but I have an appointemtn to get it checked out and get on lower dose maybe, they not book an appointemtn since my life is now fucked up from pscyhatiarythe astral stuff is really irrelivant for the damage they done, and anytime I get it right or a seed the celbrity planted so I could still experience the astral on antipscyhotic its quite unnatural and the clebrity starated being terrible to me when we were really happy as lovers but she kept me up at night with stuff, thats in lyrics of song on radio at the moment this is how we do.

            • psychiatrists actually make me really fucking mad…was just thinking since I only on a twelce week CTO they are supposed to take risks and collaborate with me to get me ready for voluctary status…there is no reason to have me on such a massive dose and the astral is gonna happen regardless because I still smoke marijuana on high dose,

              My point was I was thinking about talking to the psychaitrist and how they aren’t collaborating with my by ignoring waht the complaints about what the antipscyhotic is doing with iatrogenic illness that they are trying to get me to recover from with the drugs, stuff like negative symptoms and lifestyle stuff my global fucntioning that is deficited by the antipscyhtoic, they aren’t collaborating at all but to them they are just letting me talk about it and disagreeing with me, they have the final say and they are chronically deluded about the medication, I am only trying to educate them but they just think its preoccupations with pseudo-philosophies kind of trash, they could learn a lot from open dialogue documetnary and am going to direct them to looking at it…why doesn’t it sound reasonable to say the quacks are chronically deluded? they are as a matter of fact theyy have a fantasy that the drugs will make me better like improving my musicianship, they see it from their best patienst that get into the antipscyhotic and the authority and claim they improved with their instruments, I may as well sell all of mine I don’t hinkk I will recover, although looks like an end to it and maybe play the game and get onto orals and use rauwolfia serpentina to destroy the excess dopamine receptors and has antipscyhotic effecct from a herb that contains the alkaloid reserpine

  27. Hi Daniel
    I have seen your Open Dialougue DVD and loved it. I wanted to buy a copy for myself, but I can’t do so using the method available. I live in Australia and the payment method wants an American zipcode and state so it won’t process my order. I can’t see an option for an overseas. Is there a trick to this?
    There is a new MH commissiono here in Queensland tasked with doing up a plan to show the government how the system should be better. I would love to be able to show the Commmissioner your DVD.

    Warm Regards

    • Hi Melody,
      Greetings from…Australia! I’ll be here another week. Hmm…… Very strange about Paypal not working in Australia…. I have sold many DVDs to Australia and it’s never been a problem. One other possibility is sending a Paypal payment directly to my email, and see if that works. I’ll send you a backchannel email — maybe that will solve it?? Meanwhile, there’s always a way………….
      Glad to hear you’ve found value in my work.
      all the best to you!! (from Victoria)

          • Hi Daniel,

            I need a contact in the west coast where my 17 year old son can get help with therapy or open dialogue kind of approach for psychosis without using medications. Please help.


            • Hi Kalpana — greetings. I will reply backchannel via email. I might have some west coast contacts who could be of use to you. Wishing you the best, Daniel

          • Greetings from Victoria bc Canada.
            Desperately looking for alternatives. My teen is presenting some signs of delusion. I fear taking him to the health authorities en lose him to the system. Is there something similar to your aproach in Canada? Can you give me direction?

            • hi antonia — greetings from new york. well, i know there’s some good alternative stuff going on in vancouver. not necessarily programs, but people who have gathered together to try to make change. i think they’ve been hit by funding cuts lately, but i still think they’ve got some good stuff going on. they’ve screened this film open dialogue a few times, i think, and brought in some really good speakers. i’ll paste their info below.

              meanwhile, i wish i knew more local stuff. i bet they would know what’s really happening in your neck of the woods. wishing you the best!!


              Coast Mental Health Network
              207-1300 Richards Street
              Vancouver, BC V6B 3G6

              Phone: (604) 733-5570
              Fax: (604) 733-9556

  28. Thank you, thank you thank you for talking about these things. I’m going to get this video and give it to a therapist who is struggling to respect people’s experiences with psychosis (my own included) and who is trying to buck the trend away from psychosocial supports.

    Please keep making videos and writing songs. Work like this is is so necessary.

    • Thank you Tom. Much appreciated — and I hope the Open Dialogue point of view reaches the therapist. Sometimes therapists are open…….sometimes they aren’t….hmm…… Wishing you the best — and, thank you again for your kindness. Daniel

  29. Hi Daniel,

    Good to get your answer on the question of peer involvement in Open Dialogue and learn more about your views and experience with peer participation and peer run services.

    I wonder what the Finnish people would say was well! Perhaps the new Open Dialogue training in the USA will take this on? But it’s not going to happen if people don’t take this issue up with them. Which gets me to the point in writing to you here – its’ a request really.

    Would you be willing to simply mention peer involvement as a question or as an important unknown whenever you are speaking publicly on Open Dialogue?

    In my view, to omit even the question is to accept, collude with and give strength to the status quo –where all but in exceptional circumstances, non-peer professionals run the services whilst peers are essentially absent or included with so–called ‘consultation meetings’ and token roles in a system that they didn’t design.

    I don’t ask if you would be willing to take time and energy over this point yourself, but simply to put a ‘?’ in where there hasn’t been one in evidence before in the promotion and advocacy of Open Dialogue.

    Also I don’t need a direct answer to this. Perhaps you won’t know until you are in front of the microphone next!

    appreciation for your time in writing on this,


    • hi ela,
      i think your “request” (i’ll take it as a suggestion) is a good idea. i’ll try it.

  30. Hi Daniel,

    I’m resending your post before my reply, as I’m so delayed in getting back to you.

    dmackler58 on June 26, 2013 at 8:11 am said:
    hi ela
    greetings from london. sorry for the delay in replying — traveling!! i liked what you said about wanting to be careful that people not just replicate open dialogue as-is. hmm…as to your question i’m a bit confused about how to answer some of it, in part i think because i am not sure i understand all of it.
    i’ll note the parts i dont understand…
    you wrote: “I am wondering though if those who experience radical altered states become ‘normalised’ by the warm, supportive communication extended to them in Open Dialogue – but are not actually being ‘met’. [not sure exactly what you mean by normalised…] A person can really on their own with very intense uncommon experiences, if these kind of experiences aren’t validated with the deep recognition and appreciation that can come from involvement with peers. [i got confused by this sentence.] And is ‘success‘ measured quantitatively and superficially in terms of social adaptation…. (omitting physical heath as usual)…. ‘getting a job’ a relationship etc? Rather than valuing people who don’t fit in, aren’t adapted, but are prepared to do the work of personal and cultural change?”
    my reply: as to the last part, yes, i think for research purposes — that is, to compare their ‘results’ with those of other psychiatric programs, they do measure ‘success’ in terms of social success, that is, in pretty conventional terms. of course that has its major flaws, though in terms of making some comparisons i guess it’s pretty useful — at least for speaking the language of psychiatry and in so doing pressuring psychiatry to change from within, if one thinks that has value. i definitely see that value, though i am very clear in knowing that it’s not the whole story, nor really the most important thing for people. but it certainly creates quite a fly in the ointment for psychiatry.
    as to Open Dialogue practitioners not meeting people where they’re at, yes, i suppose it’s possible. i think they would probably agree with this, because i found the practitioners there quite open to doing better work and to meeting people better. in that vein, i would say the same goes for myself — i had and have my limits in meeting people, and try to improve. but i’ve never met anyone, ‘peer’ or otherwise, who can meet everyone where they’re at in all cases…though some definitely do it better than others!!
    greetings again,

    Hi Daniel,

    Some of what I wrote, I realised afterwards was more my own musing, rather than really expecting it to be in your business to answer – and as you found, it wasn’t too clear either!

    My meaning of normalised; When a person re-assembles after a ‘break-down” in ways that are no longer disturbing to self or others…but possibly still suppressing (via addictions, ill health etc) the parts of self that were trying to come to awareness. So falling short of ‘break-through’/transformative experience to be different and live differently. Not necessarily going along with consensus reality to slotting into the system, to keep the unsustainable, quite mad culture going as it is.

    The sentence you didn’t understand is missing the word ‘be’. “A person can really be on their own with very intense uncommon experiences….”

    Thanks for sharing on what is measured in the research and how it is still useful but incomplete.

    The only part of your reply that I have questions about still is the last paragraph. You wrote: ”but I’ve never met anyone, ‘peer’ or otherwise, who can meet everyone where they’re at in all cases…though some definitely do it better than others!!”

    I certainly agree. Often it’s not a matter of whether a person has been through a similar thing, or if they haven’t, but how perceptive, empathetic and/or skilled, they are. Peers like the rest of society, can have all sorts of barriers to communication, and being present for someone else… and lots unquestioningly promote psychiatric beliefs.

    But they can still provide something unique and needed. For example, years ago I entered a peer group for healing addiction. I met people who had been where I was and I come out the other side pretty much. I am certain that the compassion, generosity and the shared experience helped more than any amount of ‘service provision’ by non-peers possibly could have.

    For me the word ‘meet’ is a relationship of equals, in a way that ‘care-providing’ usually isn’t. When you said that service providers don’t ALWAYS meet a person, and nor do you, and nor do peers… then whilst true enough, this answer again, misses the opportunity to show any support for peer involvement.

    I don’t remember anything you have said in our correspondence so far that is remotely supportive of peer participation, or peer based services. Given your public role with Open Dialogue, then I think it important to ask…. …WHY?

    My best guess is; i) you don’t know enough about it to comment, and/or ii) your hands are tied in a way, and that it would be difficult to take up this question or come across as too positive on peer support as it could be perceived as critical (disloyal, ungracious?) of your kind Open Dialogue hosts and the wonderful work they are doing. (?)

    Rather is it enough for you to say, “this seems to work for 86% of people who come into contact with the system, service users and the wider society is happy with it…,and that’s really all that it is my job as a public speaker and film maker to communicate to people in the rest of the world… how the system might improve or be taken up in other places is outside of my domain”.

    If so, then that’s still really something worthwhile – and I can accept that and stop asking you anything further about this on your blog!



    • hi ela,
      greetings. i’ll do my best to reply to the last part of what you wrote: “I don’t remember anything you have said in our correspondence so far that is remotely supportive of peer participation, or peer based services. Given your public role with Open Dialogue, then I think it important to ask…. …WHY? My best guess is; i) you don’t know enough about it to comment, and/or ii) your hands are tied in a way, and that it would be difficult to take up this question or come across as too positive on peer support as it could be perceived as critical (disloyal, ungracious?) of your kind Open Dialogue hosts and the wonderful work they are doing. (?)”

      my thoughts: well, i actually often am quite supportive of peer participation in many contexts, and i imagine it could be a useful addition to the open dialogue project in finland. i think part of why i haven’t written about it in the finnish context is that i actually haven’t put much energy at all writing about how to make the finnish open dialogue project better. and maybe it’s also true that i don’t know a huge amount peer support, at least compared to some people that i know. i’m actually not sure how much i do know. i have visited a lot of places that have peer participation or are peer-run, but when it comes to integrating peers into a system that previously lacking in peer participation i haven’t seen that happen, not in real time at least… afterwards i’ve heard about it more, though. it would be valuable for me to witness. i’d probably learn a lot.

      as for me being disloyal to the open dialogue folks — i wouldn’t say that. i think they’d welcome the critique. actually i wish they themselves had a blog where you could write this. i’d be curious to know what they’d say.

      meanwhile, i was just recalling an article i wrote about on about components for a good neuroleptic withdrawal program, and there i wrote about how i thought peer participation (though i didn’t use that phrase) was important. here’s the entry if you wish to check it out:

      wishing you the best,

  31. Greetings Daniel.
    Have just read about “Open Dialogue” and I am very interested and excited about your work and the team in Finland. I see you are coming to a conference and speaking. I would like to hear you and also meet with other mental health practioners who may be there also. I live in northern New South Wales, Australia. I am a registered nurse with training in mental health. Where will the conference be and what are the dates?
    I have a daughter who has had brain surgery x 2 for a brain tumour. Since that time which has been 5 years has been having psychotic breakdowns. We certainly need better answers than drugs in this country. It is hard to find practioners who could be helpful.

    • hi wendy,
      greetings (from london, where i am at the moment…). yes, i’ll be in australia — i just found the info and dates:

      it’s 14-15 october of 2013. a bit north of sydney. but also i think i’ll be around australia for a few weeks.

      ISPS-australia (an organization of mostly practitioners) might be helpful to you.

      wishing you the best!

      • I tried looking up the link for your visit to North Sydney but it doesn’t work. Can you please let me know the dates? I live in Western Australia and it would be great if you could visit there, but if no I can come to Sydney.

        • hi Kathrine,
          It turns out the conference I was coming in NSW to was canceled, but I’m still coming to Oz…. Not sure of all plans yet…..

  32. Hi Daniel, I’ve just bought all four DVDs – again! The patients love them. It’s not just me telling them they can get better – but lots of other people from all over he world.
    Where will you be speaking in Australia? I live in Fremantle WA, but I guess it will be on the other side of the continent.
    Thanks for the work you’re doing
    Best regards

    • hi lois,
      greetings! i’ll be on the east coast, north of sydney. but perhaps doing some traveling — as i’ll be in australia for about four weeks. so the west coast is a possibility! greetings from europe! daniel

      • I am a psychologist and also live in Western Australia. Please let me know if you are able to come over here. I am very interested in further learning as I take a similar approach to depression.

        • hi Kathrine,
          Actually I am coming over to Australia in October and part of November. My trip isn’t entirely planned out yet. It’s possible I could come to Western Australia — haven’t visited WA since 1993!!
          Greetings from NYC,

  33. Hello Daniel,
    I am currently trying to get a copy of “Open Dialogue” as the verison our department had has gone walkabout and it cannot be tracked down. We have been running a pilot verison of open dialogue over the past months here in West Cork Mental Health Services and it would be fantastic if you could kindly facilitate us as it was hoped to have the dvd by this Thursday yet this would require an electronic version being sent, I was wondering if this is at all possible?
    Many kind regards and keep fighting the good fight,

    • greetings Colm! alas, i did not get the message until today — saturday. hmm….i don’t have an electronic version available…yet. it will be soon, somehow — i have to make those available. but right now i am in switzerland, without even my regular computer. it is stored in sweden at the moment, in a friend’s closet!! but i will also email you backchannel — maybe i can help somehow!! greetings, daniel

  34. Hi Daniel,

    Much thanks for your full reply 21 May. All of it making sense and useful to me.
    Further two questions that are being asked by others besides myself;
    Firstly, where is the peer voice in the Open Dialogue DVD? You said in the Beyond Meds article that you weren’t permitted by Finish confidentiality laws to film patients at the hospital – and it seems fair enough too not to be filming vulnerable people in the midst of their crises in their home environments either. However what about after a person has come through their period of Open Dialogue intervention? Were you discouraged from, or unsupported to find such people to interview?

    Similarly – it would seem that the support that is offered in the Open Dialogue system is 100% staffed by ..well…staff. That there isn’t room for inclusion of people who have experienced radical altered states themselves in the support of others. Are they there but not shown on film?…..or, are peers intentionally marginalised or passively marginalised in the ‘trained-professionals only’ mind-set? ???



    • good questions Ela. i didn’t actually talk with anyone there who had fully come through a crisis, so there was never even an opportunity for me to ask them questions, let alone make an interview. it would have been great had i had that chance. i think the reasons i never met anyone are varied. one is that the people who come through the crisis don’t stay in contact with the psychiatric system or the providers there — because they move on with their lives. another reason might be that if they do stay in contact in some way with the providers there the providers didn’t feel comfortable giving out their names. but then again, i suppose the providers could have asked the former clients if they wanted to get in touch with me, and the people could have done that voluntarily. on the other hand, when i was there, some people in the community did get in touch with me (near the end of my stay, which was only 2 weeks — short!) because the local newspaper wrote an article about me in the paper. but none were people who were former clients who had fully come through crisis.

      about the second question — that they don’t include peers in their work. as far as i saw, you’re right there. it’s probably something they could consider — or maybe they have begun to do this in the past three years, because i was there almost 3 years ago. i don’t know that peers are intentionally marginalized. but i think they do have a “professional” mindset with the workers there, but not necessarily in a bad way — because to me they redefine being professionals in many ways, because they actually do a good job and are respected by the community and by the clients they serve, as opposed to most professionals elsewhere… but another thing is that many, or at least some hefty percentage of, “peers” i meet in places where i travel, even small communities on par in size and geographical isolation with western lapland, are people who to some degree or other have been inspired to work in the system as “peers” because of negative experiences they had while in the system at the hands of unempathic, incompetent, or simply dangerous professionals. i didn’t meet anyone in western lapland who spoke in this way of the professionals working in the open dialogue system.

      just some thoughts. someday maybe i’ll go back and spend more time there…and learn more.

      wishing you the best

      • New comment on Wild Truth

        Hi Daniel,
        I was trying to wriggle out of acknowledging your reply, but here we go.

        Why I am bothering to write again, is that I read your explanations with a sinking heart – reading Defence and Justification as to the omission of peer involvement in Open Dialogue.
        As a professional rather than a psychiatric abuse survivor yourself, then this is ok too on some level – as professionals do need to wake up other professionals to better ways, (and that’s maybe your primary job).

        Thanks for your explanation as to the missing Peer/service user voice in the DVD. Understandable in those circumstances.
        My second question: as to whether peer/service user involvement was actively or passively suppressed: you wrote “i don’t know that peers are intentionally marginalized. but i think they do have a “professional” mindset with the workers there, but not necessarily in a bad way — because to me they redefine being professionals in many ways… etc “

        Yes my use of the term ‘mindset’ was dismissive and not really respecting the fact that these professionals are evidently a cut above and beyond what we see in mental health systems elsewhere…

        “i didn’t meet anyone in western lapland who spoke in this way ( ie negatively) of the professionals working in the open dialogue system”.

        Well that’s significant AND as you note, there is still the 15% that still go onto chronic drug dependency or whatever “not able to help” really means.

        I am wondering though if those who experience radical altered states become ‘normalised’ by the warm, supportive communication extended to them in Open Dialogue – but are not actually being ‘met’. A person can really on their own with very intense uncommon experiences, if these kind of experiences aren’t validated with the deep recognition and appreciation that can come from involvement with peers. And is “success” measured quantitatively and superficially in terms of social adaptation…. (omitting physical heath as usual)…. ‘getting a job’ a relationship etc? Rather than valuing people who don’t fit in, aren’t adapted, but are prepared to do the work of personal and cultural change?

        You wrote; “some hefty percentage of “peers” i meet in places where i travel… have been inspired to work in the system as “peers” because of negative experiences they had while in the system…”

        When someone says or implies …‘well nothing to stop people training as a mental health professionals’, I think this glosses over the paradigm difference and the system’s power-over relationship with us. I don’t think that a lot a lot of people with the really heavy psychiatric survivor experience can or will undergo mental health system training – though people with less stigmatised diagnoses can and do.

        My concern is that Open Dialogue will be taken as a model to replicate in this form – despite the injunctions to do it differently in different places. So the professional class will still get the jobs and the funding support, and it will be justified (by the evidence of ‘success of Open Dialogue’), to continue to put obstacles in the way of psychiatric abuse survivors from re-defining who we are and caring for our own.

        At the risk of being too generalized and dividing people into separate camps – I want to see the day when those who experience radical altered states make the decisions as to the support options, and decide which professionals to employ, call in, and on what terms – rather than as it is now, when professionals decide who and how many of us they want in their system and on what terms.
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        • hi ela
          greetings from london. sorry for the delay in replying — traveling!! i liked what you said about wanting to be careful that people not just replicate open dialogue as-is. hmm…as to your question i’m a bit confused about how to answer some of it, in part i think because i am not sure i understand all of it.

          i’ll note the parts i dont understand…

          you wrote: “I am wondering though if those who experience radical altered states become ‘normalised’ by the warm, supportive communication extended to them in Open Dialogue – but are not actually being ‘met’. [not sure exactly what you mean by normalised…] A person can really on their own with very intense uncommon experiences, if these kind of experiences aren’t validated with the deep recognition and appreciation that can come from involvement with peers. [i got confused by this sentence.] And is ‘success‘ measured quantitatively and superficially in terms of social adaptation…. (omitting physical heath as usual)…. ‘getting a job’ a relationship etc? Rather than valuing people who don’t fit in, aren’t adapted, but are prepared to do the work of personal and cultural change?”

          my reply: as to the last part, yes, i think for research purposes — that is, to compare their ‘results’ with those of other psychiatric programs, they do measure ‘success’ in terms of social success, that is, in pretty conventional terms. of course that has its major flaws, though in terms of making some comparisons i guess it’s pretty useful — at least for speaking the language of psychiatry and in so doing pressuring psychiatry to change from within, if one thinks that has value. i definitely see that value, though i am very clear in knowing that it’s not the whole story, nor really the most important thing for people. but it certainly creates quite a fly in the ointment for psychiatry.

          as to Open Dialogue practitioners not meeting people where they’re at, yes, i suppose it’s possible. i think they would probably agree with this, because i found the practitioners there quite open to doing better work and to meeting people better. in that vein, i would say the same goes for myself — i had and have my limits in meeting people, and try to improve. but i’ve never met anyone, ‘peer’ or otherwise, who can meet everyone where they’re at in all cases…though some definitely do it better than others!!
          greetings again,

  35. I am a clinical psychologist in Sydney Australia and I am in Helsinki for 2 days in June 13 and 14 . I would love to meet with a psychologist or practitioner from Open Dialogue if that were possible. I am very interested in your treatment methods for psychoses. I look DDR rears to hearing from someone in this area.

    • greetings pamela. i’ll email you backchannel. maybe i can help — not sure. meanwhile, i’ll be in australia for a month for part of october and november, 2013 — speaking at a conference. looking forward to it. haven’t been to australia since 1993!
      all the best,

  36. Good morning Daniel,

    Just a little note from Belgium to tell you how grateful we are for your reports and your four DVDs relevant to the Finnish OPEN DIALOGUE.

    We have now watched the first two DVDs that you sent us, appreciated your personal hand-written word of encouragements accompanying them, and we are really moved by the content.

    So moved that for holidays, we are on on way to Tornio, to see and feel by ourselve, to reproduce that feeling that you lived when visiting it yourself and described so well on a webpage of beyondmeds;com.

    You did restore hope in our family and friends. With our words circulating out of our own network, I may be wrong, and if I am, the future will put me right back, I guess that you will progressively get more and more requests from the little Kingdom of Belgium for your wonderful DVDs.

    From the little Kingdom of Belgium, with our profound gratitude, we simply want to encourage you back:

    Keep up your fantastic communication work!

    Very, very gratefully yours,



  37. Hi Daniel,

    I bought and viewed your DVD ‘Open Dialogue’ and thought it quite amazing. In other words it fits and confirms my understanding (!!) of the purpose of Radically Altered States and how they can be better worked with. Wondering if its just too good to be true? ?I don’t want to be advocating something if I’m not totally convinced its the complete story and then later on I find it wasn’t quite so. One concern in the back of my mind is that one person’s name (Jaako Seikkula I think it was), had his name on just about every research paper published. Could you say more about this please. Also wondering about follow up material to the DVD and where I could read or hear more about it that you would recommend. Congratulations too by the way!

    • hi Ela,
      good questions. Jaakko Seikkula is the one who has been the main researchers on most of their studies, but also I wasn’t the BEST one to compile info on them, because I didn’t have a comprehensive list of their articles when I was making the movie. I actually got the list of articles on Open Dialogue from his personal web page at his university. In hindsight I realize that he was putting in Open Dialogue articles by him or co-authored by him. I know there are many other articles on Open Dialogue by others, but….when I was making the film I didn’t know how to find the resources and I had very limited internet access. (I was doing the editing in a cottage in Ireland that had no internet, so I had about ten minutes a week on the web, and no one to translate Finnish for me!!) I actually just watched Open Dialogue last week in Croatia, with Croatian subtitles, and I thought about all the Seikkula, Seikkula, Seikkula articles too…. Had I had more time I would have done more research!!!!

      About Open Dialogue being too good to be true — I think it is great, and many of the principles are universal, but it just hasn’t been replicated too well in other places because it took over a decade to develop their system…in their context. That is important. But over the last fifty or so years other places have done good work in other contexts…based on some of the same principles. I think that is key — making a place work in a certain context. Sometimes people want to export Open Dialogue exactly as-is into a different context, and it might not work so well. Those people were locally based, and many of them from that exact local place — so they worked with what they had. I think that makes a big difference.

      here’s another article i wrote on open dialogue:

      it has some other ideas in it….

      as for open dialogue being imperfect…i think it is. the fact that they ONLY get an 85% recovery rate says that there are a lot of people who still end up chronically medicated with lots of unresolved issues, and in the system…. i talked about with folks in finland when i was there, folks who work in the system and with some clients, and they agreed — they still are trying to improve their system…

      but i made the film as an example of a system that is radically BETTER than the norm….. just to show what might be….. but not as a holy grail!!

      meanwhile, all the best to you, Ela!!

    • where is the conference in Sydney and what is it called and are the dates in October?
      I am very interested to attend on recovery of psychosis without drugs

      • alas, margo, i just learned that the conference i was going to attend in australia has been postponed, i believe, until 2014. but i think i’ll still be coming to australia anyway for part of october and november of 2013. many other things for me to do in australia!! greetings to you, daniel

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