Open Dialogue Foundation Training

Open Dialogue Foundation Training

Commencing in OCTOBER 2018
London, UK
for mental health teams, independent practitioners and peers
Organised by


PLEASE NOTE: This training is also being run in Barnsley in conjunction with South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, commencing in January 2019. For further details, please see this page on the Open Dialogue UK website.

This programme has been developed over the past 8 years by Volkmar Aderhold and others, based on extensive clinical experience and several visits to study the Open Dialogue service in Western Lapland. It has been refined over the years, based on the experience of what has seemed most effective, and provides a thorough grounding in the practice of facilitating Open Dialogue network meetings.

This course has been at the heart of the development of the Parachute Project in New York City, along with Intentional Peer Support training programmes. Clinicians and peers working in mobile crisis teams and respite centres across four of New York’s boroughs have undertaken the training, led by Volkmar and Petra Hohn, as part of a systematic redevelopment of community mental health services in the city.

Our first foundation training commenced in London in June 2016 and 7 NHS Trusts are represented on it, as well as those working in public services internationally, independent practitioners and peers.

Our 2017 Foundation Training Programme will be led by Volkmar Aderhold and Nick Putman, with additional accredited Open Dialogue trainers, including Petra Hohn. 4 trainers will be present on every day of the programme, to facilitate small groups, and enhance the quality of the training experience.

This a unique opportunity to learn from those who have developed and are involved in the longest running foundation courses run in public services.

To watch a video introducing our 2016 Open Dialogue Foundation Training please click the link below.

For more information on the trainers on this programme please click here.

Apply for Training

To apply for the training as a group please click here.

To apply for the training as an individual please click here.

 Dates for Training

17-20 Oct
5-8 Dec
2019 dates TBC

Training Fees

£3250 per person

or 4 installments of £895


Please telephone
+44 20 8133 3441
or contact us by clicking here

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The training programme will take place in London and will consist of 20 days over the course of 2018/2019, divided into 5 blocks of 4 days (see dates above). The training days will consist of a mixture of presentations on theory and practice, large group discussions, and role plays, where trainees will gain considerable experience of practicing the keys elements of dialogical work. Theory and practice are well integrated such that learning is embodied as well as conceptual. Reading will be provided to complement the training days. Among the topics covered are the following:

  • Need adapted treatment and the Open Dialogue model
  • Social network map
  • Network meetings
  • Reflecting and Reflecting Teams
  • Network meetings in crisis situations
  • Network meetings with psychotic crises
  • Key elements of Open Dialogue practice
  • Peers in a network meeting
  • Circular questioning
  • Anticipatory questions
  • Crisis planning with the social and professional network
  • Dealing with clients’ fear about network meetings
  • Dealing with one’s own fear about network meetings
  • Risk evaluation in the course of a network meeting
  • Family of Origin
  • Families with children
  • Secrets in families
  • Violence in families
  • Forms of supervision
  • Ways to deepen your own practice

Details of who will be considered for the training can be found below. We are particularly interested to hear from NHS Trusts that would like to take part in a pilot project to evaluate the implementation of the Open Dialogue approach. This research would be undertaken in collaboration with Jaakko Seikkula.

Applications for the training will be considered in the following order of priority:

  • Mental health teams (including peers) from NHS Trusts involved in the full 3 year Open Dialogue training programme
  • Mental health teams (including peers) from NHS Trusts interested in taking part in a pilot project
  • Other NHS mental health teams (including peers)
  • Independent therapists/practitioners/peers interested in working at a centre for dialogic practice in London.
  • International teams working in public services
  • Other mental health professionals working in teams
  • Additional support for organisations/services

There will be a members area for trainees on the Open Dialogue UK website, which will include a forum for shared learning and for communication between training blocks.

This members area will also include resources for learning such as reading lists, articles, videos, etc. Books relating to the training will be offered at discount prices.

Support for development within your organisation
Nick Putman is available on a part-time basis to support the development of the Open Dialogue approach in your organisation/service, including working with teams on a clinical basis. Nick is a certified Open Dialogue practitioner, having completed the Open Dialogue training programme with Mary Olson, Jaakko Seikkula, Markku Sutela et al. in the USA. In addition to this Nick has visited the Open Dialogue Service in Western Lapland on a number of occasions to study the approach and the structure of the psychiatric service there, and has been running seminars on the approach for the past two years. Nick has also spent time with the Parachute Project in New York City, which draws heavily on the Open Dialogue approach, studying their community-based services and training programme. For more information about Nick please see his biography below.

Training Team


Volkmar is a Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist with a Doctorate in Human Medicine, and is internationally recognised for his contributions to the field of psychiatry. His expertise has been developed through lengthy experience as a clinical director, active researcher, lecturer and publisher. He worked as a senior consultant in the University Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy in Hamburg for 10 years. There his accomplishments included working on a new project for people with difficult to treat psychosis including individual and group therapy practices. He was among the first to be involved with voice hearers in Germany. Together with engaged teams he also started to implement more and more elements of the Need Adapted Treatment Model and Open Dialogue practices on an acute ward for people with psychotic experiences.

Volkmar led the first project in Germany to implement the Need Adapted Treatment Model and Open Dialogue practices. Over the past 8 years he has developed a variety of in-house training programmes for the practice of Open Dialogue for multi-professional teams, often including peers (in total more than 30 training programmes). He has run these trainings along with many other senior therapists across 17 districts in Germany, and variations on the programme have been run in the USA (The Parachute Project), Switzerland and Poland.

Volkmar is inspired to develop humane approaches to people experiencing severe distress, following the principles of the peer and recovery movement, within an integrated practice. He writes:

“I love to run these trainings, to see the impact on professionals, and their capacity to create a frame for a process in which clients can overcome their sense of alienation, as well as find their individuality and their own meaning for extreme experiences. The mutual process of reconciliation and individualisation can be astounding while the actual dialogical practice is so subtle. I greatly appreciate the values that are at the heart of this approach, such as respect, growth, and a more socially inclusive way of life.”


Petra is a registered nurse and network therapist, and has a masters for teaching in health services. She has been working since 1993 in different psychiatric services for outpatient and inpatient care, first at Kriscenter Soteria (1993-1997), an integrated model of care for people experiencing first break psychosis. Kriscenter Soteria was part of the Swedish Parachute Study. From 1997 to 2001 Petra worked as the head of outpatient centres, first in Södertälje Psychiatric Sector with integrated NIP (Newly Identified Psychosis) teams and integrated teams for social work and psychiatric treatment according to need adapted principles.

Petra is presently working at Psychiatry South Stockholm as the head of an outpatient unit, and is also running training programmes for the organization’s employees, e.g. “Psychiatry in a historical, social and political context”, as well as seminars on personality disorders and supervision. She has been developing and running training programmes in Need Adapted Treatment Model and Open Dialogue since 2008. Since 2013 these trainings have been delivered for the Parachute Project in New York City.

Petra’s interest in working dialogically in healthcare settings started with her job at Kriscenter Soteria. Cornerstones of practice were the implicit attention given to clients and their family’s words and language, the acknowledgement that every human being is born into relationships, embedded in them, and that we as human beings are and need to be dependent on fellow humans. To be human and to become who we are, we need the answer of others. Others need to see, hear and respond to our being in the world. Dialogue as such is the foundation of our lives and we as species can’t survive without being a part of the social web of our relational and intersubjective existence.


Nick is a psychotherapist and certified Open Dialogue practitioner who specialises in working with people experiencing psychosis and their families. He has spent the last 12 years living and working in a variety of community based services for people experiencing psychosis and other extreme states, including those run by the Philadelphia Association, the Arbours Crisis Centre, the Richmond Fellowship, and Windhorse in Massachusetts. Nick has undertaken the Open Dialogue training programme with Mary Olson, Jaakko Seikkula et al. in the US, and has spent considerable time with the Open Dialogue teams in Western Lapland. He has also spent time with the Parachute Project in New York, which draws heavily on the Open Dialogue approach, studying their community-based services and training programme.

Nick has been involved in the development of the Soteria model in the UK, and is actively working with others towards the introduction of a Soteria house. He has spent time with the original staff from Soteria house in the US in order to learn about this model, and has been to visit the Soteria Alaska project.