OPEN DIALOGUE: An Alternative, Finnish Approach to Healing Psychosis

“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.

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Their 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.” By Daniel Mackler


  1. I the USA the first thing doctor tells you is that you need anti psychotic medication. They don’t even talk much to a patient. Someone is my family had psychosis and refused medication. It is now out of hallucinations and delusions and feeling much better. Almost 100% back to normal. I am scared that will relapse but it was emotional based and stress induced.


  2. very, very cool. i doubt the US could ever adopt such a policy – the drug companies would not allow it. it is truly amazing to see how other cultures handle mental health.


    1. Thanks for reading, Kimberly. Yes, the drug companies are blood(money)suckers, but I think the public is not helpless. People have to inform themselves and speak up and demand what they believe in. I see changes happening here in Israel; I volunteer for the Israeli Association for Mental Health and we are active in fighting stigma, discussing treatment options, organizing events etc. Recently, I attended a very interesting conference on schizophrenia in Tel-Aviv, introducing the “new tide” worldwide regarding attitudes & treatments in mental health care. They also showed this movie about two American women with schizophrenia who went through hell before they were treated and recovered WITHOUT medication: 🙂 Heila


  3. Hi Heila 😀 What a brilliant idea !! It’s bound to work for a multiple of reasons. I hope you are having a lovely week. Ralph xox 😀


  4. Similar to what we used to call it back home DINAMICS KVUTZATI ( Group Dynamics ) 😉
    Works every time with most cases, mild or acute, depression or mood/s behavioral disorders..
    Hugs…..Doing an good job mother 😀


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