Romão de Sousa Foundation, in collaboration with NOVA Institute of Philosophy (IFILNOVA), is delighted to present the Third International Mental Health Meeting of Romão de Sousa Foundation on the 24th of November 2018 and Associated Events:

  • 19th , 20th and 21st of November 2018 (LLE – Living Learning Experience)
  • 23rd of November 2018 (Workshops)
  • 24th of November 2018 (Mental Health Meeting)

The theme of the Meeting is “Open Dialogue and Reflective Processes in Mental Health: working with families, communities and networks”

Open Dialogue

Open Dialogue is a theoretical approach, a system of care and a therapeutic philosophy for people experiencing a mental health crisis in their families and social networks. It has been developed in Finland, in Western Lapland, over the last 25-30 years. In the 1980s psychiatric services in Western Lapland were in a poor state, and had one of the highest incidences of the diagnosis of ‘schizophrenia’ in Europe. Now, they have the best documented outcomes in the Western World. For example, around 75% of those experiencing psychosis have returned to work or study within 2 years, and only about 20% still take antipsychotic medication at 2 year follow-up.

Open Dialogue is now spreading through many countries and national health systems, and this is the first time it is coming to Portugal. Some of its principles are now being applied at Casa de Alba Therapeutic Community in Mental Health, with the collaboration of Professor Jaakko Seikkula. A large multicentre randomised controlled trail is under way in the British National Health Service.

Other reflective approaches to mental health have also been showing effectiveness in restoring mental health, such as the Norwegian “reflective teams”, following the work of Tom Anderson. Humanistic and reflective approaches have long been showing effectiveness: the core therapeutic principles of mental health treatments consistently point towards the quality of the therapeutic relationship as well as other common factors (attachment, consistency, containment, holding, open communication and others).

Specific factors, such as theoretical orientation, adherence to specific models, manualised psychotherapies, psychopharmacology and others have been showing to represent only a small proportion of the variation in long-term positive outcomes. However, with the commodification of mental health systems, it seems that these “specific factors” are the ones that still most influence commissioners in funding decisions. Should mental health systems be a “product”? Should they follow “market” rules?

In the 3rd International Mental Health Meeting of Romão de Sousa Foundation, jointly organized with NOVA Institute of Philosophy, these and other questions will be discussed, debated and reflected upon. Other associated events, starting on the 19th of November 2018 and finishing on the 24th of November 2018, will also be part of a reflective and, we hope, a refreshing week!
Submit your work and join the debate!

João G. Pereira
Rex Haigh