Open Dialogue: A Review of the Evidence


Emerging evidence for Open Dialogue (OD) has generated considerable interest. Evidence comes from a range of methodologies (case study, qualitative, and naturalistic designs), which have not been synthesized as a whole. The objective of this review was to synthesize this literature.


A systematic search of the databases PubMed, CINAHL, Scopus, Web of Science and PsycINFO included studies published until January 2018. A total of 1,777 articles were screened. By use of a textual narrative synthesis, studies were scrutinized for relevance and quality.


Twenty-three studies were included in the review; they included mixed-methods, qualitative, and quantitative designs and case studies. Overall, quantitative studies lacked methodological rigor and presented a high risk of bias, which precludes any conclusions about the efficacy of OD among individuals with psychosis. Qualitative studies also presented a high risk of bias and were of poor quality.


Variation in models of OD, heterogeneity of outcome measures, and lack of consistency in implementation strategies mean that although initial findings have been interpreted as promising, no strong conclusions can be drawn about efficacy. Currently, the evidence in support of OD is of low quality, and randomized controlled trials are required to draw further conclusions. It is vital that an extensive evaluation of its efficacy takes place because OD has already been adopted by many acute and community mental health services.