Open Dialogue Training and Services
There is strong evidence that a majority of people diagnosed with ‘schizophrenia’ can recover fully. ‘Schizophrenia’ seems to be much more about dilemmas in life than genetics or chemical imbalances. This means that ordinary, compassionate human connection – with oneself and with others – can be an excellent path to healing.
There is a paradigm shift occurring in our understanding of psychotic experience – complex and difficult, it is also meaningful, understandable, evolving, and growth-enhancing if not transformative. The most useful clinical approach so far is called Open Dialogue, a family-centered therapy designed to prevent early psychosis from becoming a lifelong process. Open Dialogue has the best known clinical outcomes, far surpassing those obtained with medication-centered treatment (61% vs. 6% full recovery, studies show).
The ‘open’, recovery-oriented style of meeting people in crisis starts with creating safe space for connection. In Open Dialogue we put noticing before thinking – just listening, to all the voices of the family, without analyzing or trying to ‘intervene’ or ‘fix’. Psychosis work often starts amid great uncertainty and anxiety, but we trust the process of being and speaking openly together to bring us through it.
Dr. Rebecca Hatton is a psychologist in Ann Arbor, MI. She provides training and supervision for colleagues working with people who hear voices, have ideas others don’t share, or prefer alternate realities. She works with families and individuals experiencing psychotic crisis, with a team of colleagues when possible.
Dr. Hatton is a faculty member at the Institute for Dialogic Practice, housed at Yale University. The IDP is the oldest and most comprehensive Open Dialogue training institute in North America. She is certified in both practice and training in Open Dialogue through the IDP. She has studied with global experts in evidence-based psychotherapies for psychosis (Jaakko Seikkula, Betram Karon, Mary Olson). She has extensive experience and advanced training in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBTp) and psychodynamic therapy for psychosis. She is also a trained facilitator in participant-created approaches, such as Hearing Voices Network support groups, Maastricht Interviews for Voices and Paranoia, and Engaging With Voices.