Tread softly because you tread on my dreams
Schizophrenia is never being able to trust your senses: we see things which ‘are not there’; we hear what no one else does. We therefore live precariously, with a terrific amount of uncertainty and confusion for long periods of time. This is also an experience particular to individuals.
The Open Dialogue approach gives due recognition to this and seeks to tentatively explore exactly what is happening in the lives of individual clients and to find ways forward which grow out of current predicaments, evolving solutions to expressed difficulties and weighing each tread-fall with care and attention.
This is done through the medium of ongoing exploratory treatment meetings which are convened with all the people connected in the social network of the client in attendance and contributing from their perspectives, with as many meetings as it takes to evolve and become the solution and resolution of the difficulties expressed and experienced, finding a way forward launched from the dialogue taking place. This open and thorough dialogue finds a language to best express the realities of life from client-perspectives, exploring these towards outcomes which everyone present can approve and give consent to.
This is a true and meaningful discernment of what is happening in the life of the client. The care taken in achieving this accuracy is well-rewarded in rendering complex issues accessible to practical solutions and removing scope for mis-understanding and discord later; maybe this process of ascertaing the facts will not have to be visited and revisited again, having uncovered the truth at first onset.
No one jumps to conclusions or imposes stock remedies or solutions, because it is better not to have answers than to apply the wrong ones. When the whole topic is explored with everyone present and conferring, the way forward can become much clearer, with all possibilities explored and only the feasible solutions ruled in. Any sense of compulsion is banished from the proceedings and the approach is sensitive, commensurate and quite beautiful in its simplicity. Why would it not work!
So instead of discounting and disregarding the words of people with schizophrenia, these have taken centre-stage. Open Dialogue practitioners are listening carefully and non-judgmentally to the narratives of people with first-onset schizophrenia in a quest to ascertain appropriate care and treatment – without naming it. Is this a Revolution? What do we all think of this?