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Open Dialogue at Advocates

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Christopher Gordon, MD
Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care
December 12, 2019

Open Dialogue is alive and well in Massachusetts.  Since 2011, when Advocates was the first recipient of funding support from the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care, Advocates has been providing Open Dialogue services in two programs based in Framingham, Massachusetts.

Advocates is a full-service, not for profit provider of services and supports to people with psychiatric conditions, developmental and other cognitive disabilities, substance use conditions, and other life challenges, offering residential supports, outpatient and emergency services, among other supports, all dedicated to the idea that everyone, regardless of diagnosis or disability, can live a full, challenging and rewarding life of their own design, given the right supports.

With the initial support from the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care, and with additional support, particularly from the Department of Mental Health, Advocates was able to train 35 staff members at the preeminent training site for Open Dialogue in the US, the Institute for Dialogic Practice under the direction of Dr. Mary Olson, currently affiliated with Yale University.

We then launched two programs – one for young people experiencing early episode psychosis, called The Collaborative Pathway; the other for people receiving services from the Department of Mental Health, whose difficulties had become or were at risk for becoming more chronic, called  Open Dialogue in Behavioral Health Services.  With support from the Cummings Foundation, and ongoing support from the Department of Mental Health, both programs have been delivering Open Dialogue Services for nearly ten years.