Family Recovery Online Course

An Online Family Recovery Course

Taught by Krista Mackinnon (co-Founder with Will Hall of

Enrollment: $150. Registration four times each year. Asynchronous course runs 8-weeks online, times flexible.

For more information and to register, contact

Course organized, Family Outreach and Response Program, and Mother Bear Community Action Network.

Through a dynamic and supportive online learning community, this 8-week course will support and educate families and friends of people who have received a psychiatric diagnosis and/or are struggling with mental health problems. Using latest research and practical tools for recovery, Recovering Our Families addresses: Stories of Your Experience; the Continuum of Mental Health, Distress, and Psychosis; Fundamentals of Recovery; the Power of Hope + Resilience; Strengths Based Perspective; Relationship Building Amidst Psychosis; Boundaries, Limits and Barriers; and Celebrating Recovery Stories.

This course is highly recommended for family members struggling to help relatives in crisis. Krista Mackinnon brings extensive practical experience working with hundreds of families at Toronto Canada’s Family Outreach and Response Program, a support agency that truly makes a difference in people’s lives. – Will Hall

Krista MackinnonKrista Mackinnon is mental health recovery consultant/trainer/counsellor in the capacities of peer support, street outreach, education, community organizing, and family counselling. Trained in yoga and mindfulness based cognitive therapy, she currently practices and resides in Costa Rica. She is the CEO of, an innovative online therapeutic education and support community for families that works in partnership with Family Outreach & Response Program (Toronto) and MotherBear CAN (North Carolina).

Open Dialogue

A collection of resources on Open Dialogue and Open Dialogue practices

“Open Dialogue” is an innovative approach to acute psychiatric crises developed by Jaakko Seikkula, Marku Suttela, and the multidisciplinary team at Keropudas Hospital in Tornio, Finland. Starting in the eighties, there have been a variety of research studies of Open Dialogue and its outcomes with early psychosis. Garnering widespread international attention, the results consistently show that this approach reduces hospitalization, the use of medication, and recidivism when compared with treatment as usual. For example, in a five-year study, 83% of patients had returned to their jobs or studies or were looking for a job (Seikkula et al. 2006), In the same study, 77% did not have any residual symptoms. Such outcomes led the Finnish National Research and Development Center for Welfare and Health to award a prize recognizing the Keropudas group for “the ongoing development of psychiatric care over a period of ten years.” — From the description at the Institute for Dialogic Practice

The principles and values of Open Dialogue as practiced out of Keropudas hospital in Finland draw from multiple rich traditions, including but not limited to Milan family therapy, the work of Dr. Tom Andersen, the Need Adapted Treatment model, and the psychology of Mikhail Bakhtin. Many people in the US and internationally are now studying and rediscovering this tradition, in methods such as the treatment meeting dialogue, limiting use of psychiatric medications, working in teams, reflecting process, and seeing psychosis as taking place in the “in between spaces” between people. Pilot projects are underway internationally to spread this approach and a growing number of practitioners are receiving training to bring Open Dialogue learning into their own work.

Interest in Open Dialogue has spread around the world, and now there are many expressions and interpretations that identify as Open Dialogue in a wide variety of clinical and training contexts. I am not a a Finnish clinician and am not part of the hospital team in Finland, but I have studied Open Dialogue with Dr. Seikkula, Marku Suttela MA, Dr. Mary Olson, Dr. Nazlim Haggman MD, and others as part of my two year certificate. I teach and practice “Learning From Open Dialogue” to advance inquiry into the Finnish approach and its rich origins, and to discover how we can reshape the social response to psychosis and emotional crisis. I am grateful to Dr. Olson and colleagues in Finland for their invitation to learn from and collaborate in the development of this work.

The Institute for Dialogic Practice, directed by Dr. Mary Olson, is the North America training facility for Finnish Open Dialogue and dialogical therapy

Preparing Open Dialogue Approach for Adaptation in the US – UMass Medical School research project

The Network of Dialogical Practices, Europe’s Open Dialogue network founded by Jaakko Seikkula and colleagues

The International Network for the Treatment of Psychoses, founded by Tom Andersen

Need Adapted Treatment Model, developed by Alanen, Räkköläinen, Lehtinen, Aaltonen, and Rasimus

Madness Radio interview with Mary Olson on Open Dialogue

Open Dialogue — Alternative Care for Psychosis In Finland

Open Dialogue: A Documentary by Daniel Mackler

Open Dialogue: a documentary on a Finnish alternative approach to healing psychosis

Finnish Open Dialogue: High recovery rates leave many psychiatric beds empty

The Open Dialogue Approach to Psychosis: Its poetics and micropolitics

Seikkula: Inner and outer voices in the present moment of family and network therapy

Olson: Family and Network Therapy for a System of Care: “A Pedagogy of Hope”

Need Adapted Treatment of New Schizophrenic Patients: Experiences and Results of the Turku Project

Kjellberg Chapter on Scandinavia / Finland Approach to Psychosis

Mental Health Trialogue Network, Ireland

Open Dialogue UK

Peer Open Dialogue at the NHS in the UK

Parachute NYC – Need Adapted Treatment model through the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, with shared roots with Open Dialogue

Mikhail Bakhtin: Creation of a Prosaics, by G. Morson & C. Emerson

Family Therapy: An Intimate History, by Lynn Hoffman

Steam of Life film – Finnish men and saunas

Reflecting Teams, introduction to Tom Andersen’s book, by Lynn Hoffman

The Reflecting Team: Dialogue and Meta-Dialogue in Clinical Work by Tom Andersen

Lynn Hoffman essay Beyond Power and Control

Developing Open Dialogue website has useful links and resources

Michael Rymer’s film Face To Face dramatizes a workplace restorative justice mediation that has interesting resonance with Open Dialogue

Story of the Weeping Camel about healing in a traditional nomadic tribe in Mongolia was studied at the IDP as evocative of Open Dialogue principles

Video on Coming Off Medications: A Harm Reduction Approach

With the help of Portland visionary colleagues Kent Bye, Jen Gouvea, and Jonathan Marrs I produced a short introductory video of me describing coming off psychiatric drugs. The approach is drawn from my Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs, which can be downloaded for free here:

This video provides some basic guidance for anyone considering reducing or coming off psychiatric medications and their supporters, which is discussed in greater detail in the Harm Reduction Guide. This video and Guide are in the spirit of peer support and mutual aid for educational purposes, and not medical advice. (While everyone is different, coming off medications, especially abruptly, can sometimes be dangerous. Seek support when possible and use caution.)

You can contact me at Please share this video; it’s Creative Commons copyright 2011 BY-NC-ND and the url is here: Also it’s been translated into Czech here:

Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs and Withdrawal

The Icarus Project and Freedom Center’s 52-page illustrated guide gathers the best information we’ve come across and the most valuable lessons we’ve learned about reducing and coming off psychiatric medication. Based in more than 10 years work in the peer support movement, this Guide is used internationally by individuals, families, professionals, and organizations, and is available a growing number of translations. Includes info on mood stabilizers, anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, risks, benefits, wellness tools, psychiatric drug withdrawal, information for people staying on their medications, detailed Resource section, and much more. A ‘harm reduction’ approach means not being pro- or anti- medication, but supporting people where they are at to make their own decisions, balancing the risks and benefits involved. Written by Will Hall, with a 55-member health professional Advisory Board providing research assistance and more than 50 collaborators involved in developing and editing. The guide has photographs and art throughout, and a beautiful original cover painting by Jacks McNamara.

Now in a revised and expanded Second Edition.

Note: the guide is Creative Commons copyright and you have advance permission to link, copy, print, and distribute for non-commercial purposes, as long as you don’t
alter it and you credit the source.

Download and read the Guide in English.

Download a printer version, with scrambled pages ready to fold into a booklet (print double sided on legal paper, or send to a shop; booklet assembly instructions here). Download a powerpoint version here.

Download the Audiobook version mp3 here (rt/cntrl-click save as).

Download a European printer version in English, with scrambled pages ready to fold into a booklet (print double sided on A4 paper).

You can also order a bound, color cover edition through bookstores.

Read about the making of the first edition and second edition of the Guide.



The Guide is available in the following languages, some also with printer versions:

Spanish – Castellano/Español (printer version)

German – Verfügbar Deutsch (printer version)

Greek – Ελληνική

Bosnian – Bosanskom

Russian – русский 

Danish – Dansk

Dutch – Nederlands

Croatian – Hrvatski (printer version)

Japanese – 日本で利用可能 (printer version)

Italian – Italiano (printer version)

Thai – ไทย

Chinese – 減害 手冊 脫離精神科藥物

French – Français (printer version)

Norwegian – Norsk

Czech – Čeština


For more information on coming off psychiatric medication, please see the Icarus coming off forums,, the UK website, and Will Hall’s webpage at

Article by on “Addressing Non-adherence to Antipsychotic Medication: a Harm-Reduction Approach” in the Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing

Also check out these videos with Will Hall (and this one translated into Czech): and this audio on “Coming Off Medications” from the 2009 Hearing Voices Congress.