Foundation Training – Online 2021

Open Dialogue – Foundation Training


for NHS and other mental health teams, independent practitioners and peers

PLEASE NOTE: This training can also be run on an in-house basis in the NHS and other mental health services nationally and internationally. For further details, please contact us.

As is the case in Western Lapland, Open Dialogue foundation trainings are integral to any Open Dialogue service, helping staff to become familiar enough with the philosophy and practice of Open Dialogue, such that they can start to facilitate network meetings in their service.

The Open Dialogue UK foundation programme is largely based on a programme developed over the past 10 years by Volkmar Aderhold and others, and is now the most widely used Open Dialogue foundation training internationally. It is based on extensive clinical experience and several visits to study the Open Dialogue service in Western Lapland, and has been refined over the years, based on the experience of what has seemed most effective, having been run extensively in Germany, and also in Switzerland, the US, the UK, Australia and France. It provides a thorough grounding in the practice of facilitating Open Dialogue network meetings.

This programme was 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 undertook the training, led by Volkmar and Petra Hohn, as part of a systematic redevelopment of community mental health services in the city. It has been run four times in the UK, including teams from several NHS Trusts, as well as those working in public services internationally, independent practitioners and peers. In 2019 it was run on an in-house basis for South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. It was also the training chosen for the Queensland Peer Supported Open Dialogue project and is the first Open Dialogue foundation training to be run in France.

Given the current difficulties travelling to and gathering for training programmes, due to the ongoing covid pandemic, we have decided to run our 2021 foundation training online. In order to keep the continuity of our existing trainings intact, we decided, following the second wave of covid which started in August 2020, to move these trainings online, and were surprised at how well it went. We have been using the Zoom platform for this purpose since October 2020 to run three different trainings, and the feedback has been very positive. We are able to use the breakout rooms in Zoom for small group exercises, as well as screen sharing and other features, and, whilst most participants would have preferred to be able to continue these trainings in person, some have felt that certain elements of the online format are actually advantageous to training in person. We are therefore confident that we can offer a very good training experience online in 2021. One adaptation that we have made for online trainings is to run them in shorter blocks of two/three days, so as to make the online experience less demanding. We also tend to have shorter breaks more often when working online.

We are very pleased that Petra Hohn will once again be able to join us for this training and that Kari Valtanen, from Lapland, will also be on the training team, along with Nick Putman. These experienced practitioners and trainers have now participated as trainers on several Open Dialogue UK trainings as well as many other training programmes internationally. Further information about the trainers can be found below.

If you are interested in participating in this programme please submit your application as soon as possible in order to be considered.

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

23-24 Apr 2021

21-22 May 2021

25-26 Jun 2021

30-31 Jul 2021

9-11 Sept 2021

30 Sept – 2 Oct 2021

29-30 Oct 2021

26-27 Nov 2021

17-18 Dec 2021

Each training day will start at 09.00 and finish at 17.00 UK time (GMT/BST).

Training Fees

£2750 per person

or 4 installments of £750


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

The training programme will take place in London and will consist of 20 days over the course of 2021, divided into 9 blocks. 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:
  • The 7 principles of Open Dialogue practice
  • Reflecting and reflecting teams
  • The facilitation of network meetings
  • The elements of dialogic practice
  • Circular and anticipatory questions
  • Family of origin work
  • Working in crisis situations
  • Working with people experiencing psychosis
  • Peers in network meetings
  • Dealing with fears about network meetings
  • Working with risk

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. See below for Nick’s biography.

Training Team

Kari Valtanen is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and Family Therapist, living in Rovaniemi, Finland, at the Arctic Circle. He is working with the Open Dialogue team at the Adolescent Psychiatric Unit in Western Lapland. Kari has experience in consulting with child & adolescent mental health services and child protection in different municipalities in Lapland. He has been teaching family and narrative therapy, collaborative, and dialogical practice for several years. Kari has held three year Open Dialogue trainings with his colleagues locally in Lapland and has been a trainer on several Open Dialogue trainings internationally including those run in the UK, Italy, Australia, France, Japan, US and Canada.

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 organisation’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 and also as a Foundation Training for Open Dialogue UK 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.

NickNick Putman is a registered psychotherapist and a certified Open Dialogue practitioner and trainer, having completed a two year training in the Open Dialogue approach with Mary Olson and others in the US and a three year trainer’s training programme in London with Jaakko Seikkula and others. He is the founder of Open Dialogue UK, which established the first full training in the Open Dialogue approach outside of Western Lapland. Nick has visited the Open Dialogue service in Western Lapland on a number of occasions to study the approach and the structure of the service. He has more than 20 years experience working in a variety of mental health settings, and considerable experience working with people experiencing psychosis and their families. Nick is currently working with families in London, along with colleagues, both at the Open Dialogue UK premises and at home visits. Nick has been a trainer on either full or foundation level Open Dialogue trainings run in the UK, Australia and France.