The PODcast: What is "Peer-supported Open Dialogue"?

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

8:00 - 9:30am PDT, 11:00 - 12:30pm EDT, 4:00 - 5:30 PM BST

Note: There will not be a CE provided for this webinar.

“Open Dialogue” - Western Lapland’s response to its community’s mental health crises - has inspired projects around the world that seek to emulate its elements and principles, in the hope of replicating its success. However, outside of the community and culture that have co-evolved with Open Dialogue over its decades of development, these philosophies and practices have met challenges. One of the largest and, arguably, most successful efforts to address these challenges - Peer-supported Open Dialogue (POD) - has resulted in the largest research study yet of Open Dialogue-inspired services. The ODDESSI trial is studying the adoption of Peer-supported Open Dialogue within several of the U.K.’s National Health Service trusts.

POD adds elements to Open Dialogue that can help to strengthen aspects that are challenged outside of OD’s origin - a strong sense of community, along with a level of mindful awareness that may be naturally present among people who spent decades developing Open Dialogue together. The “peer” part of Peer-supported Open Dialogue includes essential voices in the system’s dialogue - relational, familial, community and societal perspectives that in a medically-focused system of care fall to the margins. The PODcast will explore how POD seeks to bring Open Dialogue principles and practice to an intrigued but skeptical - and increasingly desperate - world. In our first episode we will meet with some of POD’s originators - psychiatrist Russell Razzaque of NELFT, family therapist Val Jackson, and professor Mark Hopfenbeck to learn about POD’s origins, development, and future. In future episodes we will meet with teams that are bringing POD to NHS trusts, as well as others who are actively engaged in bringing Open Dialogue to the world.


Mark Hopfenbeck, MSc is a social anthropologist specialising in health and social policy, an assistant professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), visiting fellow at London South Bank University (LSBU), and individual partner at the Collaborating Centre for Values-based Practice in Health and Social Care, St Catherine’s College, Oxford University. At NTNU he teaches mindfulness and is a member of the Wellbeing and Social Sustainability research group. For the past 20 years, he has been teaching and supporting the implementation of the Open Dialogue approach. He is co-editor of The Practical Handbook of Hearing Voices (2021), The Practical Handbook of Eating Difficulties (2022) and The Practical Handbook of Dementia (in press). He is currently co-investigator on a large-scale programme of research into crisis and continuing mental health care within the NHS (the ODDESSI study) and coordinator of the Advisory Board for the HOPEnDialogue project, an international collaborative study designed to connect the Open Dialogue research projects emerging worldwide to the rigorous framework provided by ODDESSI.

Russell Razzaque, MD has been a psychiatrist for nearly 20 years. He is based in North East London where he works in the community. He is also a part-time academic and Head of Research in his organisation. His areas of special interest are mindfulness, the intersection between spirituality and mental health and more humanistic, person-centred ways of working - such as Open Dialogue. He has published a range of books and peer-reviewed papers on these subjects and is currently helping to lead the world's largest study in Open Dialogue - the multi-centre ODDESSI Trial.

Val Jackson, MSc is a family therapist and trainer in systemic practice. She first heard about Open Dialogue 22 years ago. It just made sense to her and she has campaigned widely for its introduction in the UK with an emphasis on giving family members and friends a voice. She led an Open Dialogue trial in Leeds, West Yorkshire in 2014. Having completed the three year OD trainer course, Val has been a co-facilitator and tutor on the Peer-supported Open Dialogue course since its inception in 2014. She loves cycling, swimming and her garden. You are welcome to visit her website:

Moderator: Kermit Cole, MFT was founding editor of He and his partner, Louisa Putnam, practice family therapy in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with a focus on supporting families of people with extreme mental states. Their interest in the potential - and, in the NHS, reality - of Peer-supported Open Dialogue to integrate Open Dialogue’s principles and values into communities and networks where a medically-focused framework has otherwise been dominant, led them to enroll in POD training. Prior to this, they completed their training as Open Dialogue trainers under Jaakko Seikkula and the facilitator training program at Dialogic in Helsinki.

Webinar Recording