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Open Dialogue Course – University-based PG Cert Qualification

APOD, in cooperation with London South Bank University, has launched the first Open Dialogue course accredited at an English-speaking University at Post-Graduate Certificate level. Entitled ‘Peer-supported Open Dialogue, Social Network and Relationship Skills’, the course consists of four five-day residential modules, and the first year of this training commenced in January 2017. Instructions for the application process for 2018 will be posted here shortly. For more information, see the syllabus below or contact Mark Hopfenbeck: mark.hopfenbeck@ntnu.no

 

Post-graduate Certificate in Peer-supported Open Dialogue, Social Network and Relationship Skills (POD)

Russell Razzaque, Val Jackson & Mark Hopfenbeck

Introduction and philosophy:
Open Dialogue was originally developed in Finland in the 1980’s and has since been taken up in a number of countries around the world, including much of the rest of Scandinavia, Germany and some US states. It involves a psychologically consistent family and social network approach in which the majority of decision-making is carried out via whole system network meetings involving the patient together with his or her family members, as well as the extended social network. Staff are specifically trained in utilising these meetings as the focus of the therapeutic process, enabling a strong emphasis on improved agency and long term recovery from day one. To facilitate the development of the core skills, attitudes and values of Peer-supported Open Dialogue students will develop their own mindfulness/contemplative practice. A further core element of the model involves the inclusion of peer workers within each Trust and as part of a local network of community-based peers. Peer workers are seen as experts in their own right while many of the regular staff have lived experience as service users and/or carers. Staff and peer workers will receive peer support training jointly in order to develop local need-adapted and holistic models of crisis care and support which integrate peer-support with the Open Dialogue approach. Staff and peer workers will also collaborate to cultivate supportive peer networks within the local community.

Organisation and length:
The foundation course comprises four five-day residential modules over approximately ten months. The training course aims to create strong, authentic relationships between trainees. In order to support them through this sometimes emotive process we arrange for them to form small support groups. These groups are given time at the end of each study day to meet in private to reflect on what they have learned and what they have found challenging.  Teaching staff are also available if requested by trainees. In addition to the work done at the residential modules, the participants will be required to hand-in a number of assignments specified below. This will be done in a net-based virtual learning environment. Participants should budget approximately six to eight hours per week for the readings and completing the assignments.

Qualification:
London South Bank University will after completion of the course, award a post-graduate certificate in ‘Peer-supported Open Dialogue, Social Network and Relationship Skills’. Accreditation at foundation diploma level from the Association of Family Therapists will applied for retrospectively.

The Course:
On completion of this course, the participants will be aware of how to support the recovery process more effectively for persons experiencing mental illness, their families and the private and professional networks of which they are part. This foundation course is designed as an introduction and is a prerequisite to the mentors training course which is currently being planned. As an integral part of the foundation course, participants from the individual Trusts will work with implementing POD within their Trust. As part of this they will develop locally adapted models of POD within their respective services including descriptions of the practical governance aspects as well as a strategy for organising network support for peer-supporters within the community. This course promotes recognition of the need for establishing relationships that facilitate personal recovery and supports the development of the skills to form such relationships. Mindfulness or other contemplative practice is a core component of the training and all participants are required to establish a regular practice. The course is designed to be a reflection of the philosophy and values of this peer-supported, client-driven and person-centred approach and as such will be delivered by active clinicians, family members, clients and peers. A variety of learning activities will be used, e.g. lectures, self-reflection, writing exercises, net-based discussions, role play, mindfulness meditation, group project work, all of which support personal and professional growth and the development of a reflective practitioner who respects and values the contributions of others.

Absences:
Please notify Mark ahead of time (mark.hopfenbeck@ntnu.no). Missing any time results in an additional assignment at the discretion of the teaching team. It is the student’s responsibility to contact Mark to discuss the make-up work.

 

Module One

Thematic content:

• Introduction to the course structure and colleagues
• Theoretical understanding and evidence base for family therapy, open dialogue and self-work
• The history of systemic practice
• Social constructionism and the importance of context
• Open dialogue as approach and attitude
• Reflecting processes, theories and tools
• The family life cycle
• The importance of research
• Involving and working with the family and social networks
• Mindfulness, personal development space and critical reflections
• Acceptance and compassion in professional practice
• The use of self in Open dialogue


Learning outcomes:

• To achieve an introductory understanding of the Peer-supported Open Dialogue model and the relationship between its different components
• To achieve an ability to place the development of POD into a historical context
• To understand Intentional Peer Support and the role of peers in service delivery
• To consider how the local community can facilitate peer-support
• To understand the differences between traditional and recovery-focused services
• To understand the systemic approach to family and other relationships
• To undertake a reflective learning approach to POD and its application in practice

 

Formative assignments:

Deliver five web based (200 – 400 word) posts to the group

• Module: is a reflection on the student’s experience of the previous residential module, including an analysis of what they considered to be the most important learning processes.
• Autobiographical: is a reflection on the student’s own life story and how this unique story will affect their practice as a facilitator of Peer-supported Open Dialogues. The autobiography should be personal without being private and the student should reflect on this difference.
• Learning and development: is a description of the student’s personal expectations and goals for the program as well as a plan for how to achieve those goals. It should describe relevant experience, prior knowledge and presumed relevance of the Peer-supported Open Dialogue approach for the student’s own work. If your training is part of a project, a short description of the project should be included. As part of the plan, the student will describe a time management strategy for organising their study work most effectively.
• Family life cycle: is a reflection based on interviewing a family member about an event (e.g. birth, death, marriage, child leaving home, illness, etc.) and it’s impact on family life within a given context (e.g. gender, education, race, age, ability, sexuality, culture, etc.).
• Mindfulness: is a reflection on the student’s developing mindfulness practice, their own personal growth and the challenges and opportunities inherent in mindfulness practice and relevance for their own work situation and professional development.

 

Final summative assessment:

• A 3000 word essay that outlines a summary of the literature on Open Dialogue. Refer your literature review to a specific aspect of mental health care from your workplace experience.

 

Module Two

Thematic content:

• Deepening Open Dialogue practice & self-work
• Psychosocial & holistic approaches to mental health, trauma and recovery
• Recognising and responding to trauma
• Working with children
• The therapeutic relationship
• Working towards recovery; empowerment, connectedness and identity
• Psychosocial aspects of mental illness and recovery
• Ethics and working with families and networks
• Mindfulness & personal development
• Emotions, self-regulation and the body
• The use of self in Open dialogues

 

Learning outcomes:

• To critically explore and appreciate the importance of peer involvement in the co-production, development and delivery of mental health services
• To understand feedback informed treatment and client-driven service evaluation and development
• To critically explore and appraise family and cultural experiences and how these influence personal and professional development towards improved mental wellbeing in social contexts
• To be mindfully present in meetings with colleagues, services users and their networks
• To be able to promote awareness of the influence of the wider socio-political context (including gender, race, age, ability, culture, education, sexuality) on self and clients
• To understand how inequalities and power differentials impact on people’s lives and systemic practices

 

Formative assignments:

Deliver four web based (200 – 400 word) posts to the group

Module: is a reflection on the student’s experience of the previous residential module, including an analysis of what they considered to be the most important learning processes.
Family of origin: is based on your personal genogram and the discussion of it with a family member or close friend. Consider at least one of the following: gender, education, race, age, ability, sexuality, culture, etc. Describe the different viewpoints raised in your discussion, and how it may have led to new understandings of your family of origin. Describe how the experience of doing this has influenced you personally and professionally. Give specific examples from your clinical work.
Practicum: is based on the student’s present work situation and reflects their own personal development and the challenges and opportunities inherent in POD, including the personal challenges of seeing dialogue as a way of life.
Mindfulness: is a reflection on the student’s developing mindfulness practice, their own personal growth and the challenges and opportunities inherent in mindfulness practice and relevance for their own work situation and professional development.

Final summative assessment:

• A 4000 word essay on your personal growth and development in the area of Open Dialogue. It should be as specific as possible regarding the changes that have actually occurred. It should contextualize your development including topics such as the influence of your own personal history, your experience of the course, the organizational culture you work in, etc.

Module Three

Thematic content:

• Applied open dialogue practice, peer support and the integration of the two
• The power of peers
• Co-creating peer-supported services
• Social network maps
• Sharing stories and decisions in person-centred care
• Dialogue and client-driven service development
• Community based peer-support
• Spirituality and culture
• Mindfulness and therapeutic presence

Learning outcomes:

• To understand personal family and cultural experiences from a systemic perspective, and to explore how these influence their professional practice.
• To understand childhood adversity and trauma, and their relationship to mental health and wellbeing
• To utilize feedback-informed, client-driven service evaluation and development
• To recognize the social and economic impact of the wider sociopolitical context on mental wellbeing, especially in respect of race, class, religion, culture, gender, sexual orientation, age and disability
• To appreciate a person-centred approach to mental health care
• To develop the systemic and dialogical skills required to make informed responses and engage all members of a network meeting.
• To use familiar and cultural experiences in one’s personal and professional development
• To become a mindful practitioner who is compassionately present in their private and professional lives
• To make ethical decisions, especially in relation to safeguarding, confidentiality and consent

Formative assignments:

Deliver three web based (200 – 400 word) posts to the group

• Module: is a reflection on the student’s experience of the previous residential module, including an analysis of what they considered to be the most important learning processes.
• Practicum: is based on the student’s present work situation and reflects their own personal development and the personal, professional and organisational challenges and opportunities inherent in POD, including the personal challenges of seeing dialogue as a way of life.
• Mindfulness: is a reflection on the student’s developing mindfulness practice, their own personal growth and the challenges and opportunities inherent in mindfulness practice and relevance for their own work situation and professional development.

 

Deliver a 20-minute presentation based on the POD practice study.

Final summative assessment:

• A 2500 – 3000 word POD practice study, based on submission and analysis of a five to ten minute edited video (alternatively audio with transcript) demonstrating ability to respond to the person and network, based on the application of theoretical framework and fidelity criteria of POD.