Open Dialogue – in brief
The Open Dialogue approach is based on the understanding that change and solutions must be found in the social context rather than with the individual.

The approach differs from the traditional procedure. In Open Dialogue, relationships and networking, the focus is aimed at both the personal and professional network. It centers around creating a world together – through the ways we talk to each other. The potential for change lies in a joint and meaningful process. Therefore, the task of the professional is to maintain focus on the process among the parties involved and to render their thoughts and knowledge visible to one another and thereby ensure that the participants can take part in finding a common understanding of actions and motive – and with that new possibilities.

A network oriented approach can optimize the task of creating coherent processes and collaboration between individuals across sectors. The way the dialogue in a network meeting is carried out ensures that everyone has a chance to hear others and to be heard. Using the links to the right, you can watch a video about how a network meeting takes place and also one in which citizens, relatives, employees and psychiatrists talk about Open Dialogue. These videos are only in Danish, however.

Education, training programme and introducing workshops
Many municipalities wish to begin implementing the Open Dialogue approach. Therefore, they need to upgrade their employees’ various qualifications in the approach. Some only need to be familiar with the approach and perhaps participate in Open Dialogue network meetings, where others need to be able to realize the approach – meaning they must be able to act as either chairperson or reflective participant in a network meeting for citizens.

With this in mind, we have developed courses and training programmes at various levels. The national two-year programme, a 12-18-month learning and training programme as well as introduction days.

We have offered the national two-year programme since 2011 – in collaboration with the Municipality of Herning and the Municipality of Odense.

The 12-18-month learning and training programme is based on experience from a qualification programme which we developed for employees in the National Board of Social Services’ project named “Quality in the municipal effort for citizens with severe mental health problems”. Five municipalities and 30 employees participated. 

Background and organization
Open Dialogue, relationship and networking is based on the Finnish “Lapland Model” developed by Jaakko Seikkula during the late 1980s and up through the 1990s as well as reflective processes inspired by Tom Andersen from Norway.

Organizationally, the programme is based in the Development Unit in the Department of Social Services, City of Aarhus.