Open Dialogue: A Recovery-Oriented Approach to Early Episode Psychosis

The Collaborative Pathway at Advocates

Note: This webinar was held on March 8th, 2017

A recorded video of the webinar is now available online.

Note: This lecture does not currently provide continuing education.

About this Webinar

Six years ago, Dr. Chris Gordon, medical director of Advocates, Inc., a large community mental health organization in Massachusetts, set out to train in Open Dialogue practices. Open Dialogue is both a philosophy of care and a system of care, developed over the past 30 years in Tornio, Finland, which includes doctors, nurses, therapists and other helpers, who support families experiencing emotional or psychiatric turbulence.

The model is deeply humanistic, seeing crisis as a time of meaning and opportunity, as well as possible danger. The team does not start from an assumption that a psychiatric or medical paradigm is necessarily the best way to approach the situation. This definition of the crisis, and almost everything else, is collaboratively understood in the network of support. The voice of the person at the center of concern is honored and amplified, and the path forward appreciates the strengths of the person and his or her social and familial networks. Outcomes in Tornio have been outstanding, with 80% of persons with early episode psychosis working or in school at five years, and with a fraction of the use of antipsychotic medications compared to standard care.

Advocates developed the first pilot project in the country, which they called Collaborative Pathway, to adapt these methods in the United States. The Collaborative Pathway offers Open Dialogue services to young people and their families.

In this webinar, Dr. Gordon and Keegan Arcure, who is the director of the Collaborative Pathway Program at Advocates, discussed the development of their program, how it operates, and their initial patient outcomes. They shared practical ideas for others hoping to adapt Open Dialogue to their setting.


The webinar was held on March 8th, at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, 12:30 Pacific Standard Time. The webinar is approximately 90 minutes.

A recorded version of the webinar is now available, which, after registering for the course, you can view at your own pace.

What you'll learn

You will learn about an emerging evidence-based practice for treating youth and families who are experiencing an early psychosis. Specifically, the course provides an overview of the seven principles of the Finnish Open Dialogue model, the key elements of the family network meetings, key outcomes that can be expected, a description of the two programs at Advocates that apply Open Dialogue principles, preliminary findings, and lessons learned from the adaptation of Open Dialogue to an American urban setting.

Who should view this webinar

This course is designed to educate mental health professionals (psychologists, social workers, licensed professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, nurses, psychiatrists, and peer service and support workers) as well as the general public.

Your Instructors

Dr. Christopher Gordon has served as Medical Director of Advocates, Inc, a large community mental health organization in Massachusetts, since 1995, and since 2011 has served as Senior Vice President for Clinical Services, responsible for the quality and integrity of all of Advocates’ clinical programs. He has also taught on the faculty of Harvard Medical School since 1976, where he is Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Part-time, and teaches in the residency program at the Massachusetts General and McLean Hospitals, where he is an Assistant Psychiatrist. In recent years, Dr. Gordon has co-led Advocates’ groundbreaking adaptation of Open Dialogue, a state-of-the-art method of working with people experiencing psychosis; Dr. Gordon and his colleagues have developed the first such adaptation in the United States, and have recently published a feasibility study of this approach in Psychiatric Services.

Keegan Arcure is the Project Manager for Collaborative Pathway and Open Dialogue services at Advocates, where she has worked for seven years. Keegan is a licensed mental health counselor supported by an educational background in counseling psychology, with a concentration in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Keegan trained for two years at The Institute for Dialogic Practice in Haydenville, MA with Mary Olson Ph. D. and Jaakko Seikkula, Ph. D. and has been implementing dialogical principles into her practice since 2011.

"The Open Dialogue model is deeply humanistic, seeing crisis as a time of meaning and opportunity, as well as possible danger." -Chris Gordon

Course Curriculum

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