Episode 2: Alita Taylor, Open Dialogue

From the Open Dialogue Washington website:

“What is the Open Dialogue approach?
The Open Dialogue approach is both a philosophical/theoretical approach to people experiencing a mental health crisis and their families/networks, and a system of care, developed in Western Lapland in Finland over the last 25-30 years. In the 1980s psychiatric services in Western Lapland were in a poor state, in fact they had one of the highest rates of the diagnosis of schizophrenia in Europe. Now they have the best documented recovery outcomes in the Western World. For example, around 75% of those experiencing psychosis have returned to work or study within 2 years and only around 20% are still taking antipsychotic medication at 2 year follow-up.

Remarkably, Open Dialogue is not an alternative to standard psychiatric services, it is the psychiatric service in Western Lapland. This has afforded a unique opportunity to develop a comprehensive approach with well-integrated inpatient and outpatient services. Working with families and social networks, as much as possible in their own homes, Open Dialogue teams work to help those involved in a crisis situation to be together and to engage in dialogue. It has been their experience that if the family/team can bear the extreme emotion in a crisis situation, and tolerate the uncertainty, in time shared meaning usually emerges and healing/recovery is possible. Open Dialogue has drawn on a number of theoretical models, including systemic family therapy, dialogical theory and social constructionism.”

“Alita has fourteen years experience working in emergency psychiatry, and generally in mental health services since 1992. She currently practices psychotherapy in Washington, remaining licensed where she began, in California, holding a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage & Family Therapy from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.

Her passion is working from a community-based, non-expert, need-adapted Open Dialogue perspective, which utilizes social networks, family, and co-facilitation with other professionals.

Alita is a mother of adult children, lover of music, dance, art/architecture/design, film, poetry, cross-cultural and linguistic studies, and spirituality. She is also a stepparent. Her own parents were from different hemispheres (mother-Finnish, father-U.S. Midwesterner). She has experience with aging and dying parents, having care took them both. She loves running, sailing, writing and traveling.

Alita writes the following about her work:

“Sitting with people is an honor and a privilege. I am one witness to the human mind in relationship. I am in continual fascination and awe of the human spirit and I am lucky to have found a profession where I can practice this daily. If one part of a system changes, the whole system changes, we just never exactly know how it will. There are infinite possibilities of what can happen when a group comes together. I have seen it. When a family’s, or a community’s, inherent self-healing capacities work amoung one another, toward their own goals, using their own vigor, strength, intelligence and resourcefulness, healing happens with a group-think-feel space provided.” ”

Helpful Links:

Open Dialogue Washington


Open Dialogue UK


Hearing Voices, Open Dialogue

Here we talk about our experiences that might get labeled as psychotic, including voices, mania, paranoia, and unusual beliefs. As part of this, we may use strong for salty language, at times possibly triggering topics may come up. We do not shy away from topics like suicidality, abuse, trauma, or non-traditional spiritual beliefs. The purpose of this is not for the sock or to focus on the negative but to acknowledge the events and our whole self as part of our healing.
We welcome any questions, and we would like for you to feel that you are a part of the conversation. So please comment below, or if you would like to reach us privately and have your contribution be anonymous you can email us at threevoicespodcast@gmail.com

Contact Us:


Facebook Page

#threevoicespodcast #threevoicesart