Open Dialogue: Psychiatric Crisis Team (Norte Alentejano)

Open Dialogue is a treatment system and an inovative way of organizing mental health services that emerged in Finnish Lapland in the early 1980s, at a time when the prevalence of serious psychiatric disorders in the region, particularly on the spectrum of psychosis, was quite high. Based on Yrjö Alanen’s “needs adapted” system, services across the region were reformulated, creating a system for responding to the psychiatric crisis based on familial, dialogical and networked approaches. These approaches have been the target of systematic investigation in the last 30 years, allowing promising results to be observed in terms of reducing symptoms, decreasing days of hospitalization, reducing the use of antipsychotic medication and reducing disability and unemployment benefits.

The Open Dialogue system has aroused international interest and is currently the subject of a large-scale controlled study on the NHS English (ODDESSI). Recently, an international collaboration platform (HOPEnDialogue) was launched, based in Rome, which aims to establish a cooperation system for the various international Open Dialogue projects to guarantee fidelity in intervention and results.

It is through the development of a “culture of dialogue” that a redistribution of power and a dilution of hierarchies are achieved, allowing the internal resources of patients and families to be mobilized in order to find solutions.

These solutions are usually found, in the so-called “treatment meeting”, where all decisions and contingency plans are made, in the presence of all involved and with transparency.

A team of 2 or 3 therapists is allocated to each request for help, who intervene intensively and as needed, with the patient, social and family network.

Free Clinical Services in Psychiatric Crisis

The project is co-financed by the Directorate-General for Health (DGS). Our services are free of charge for families.

Clinical Team

The ODP-NA project has a team of 4 qualified mental health professionals, with academic degrees of highl professional standard. All team members undertook postgraduate training with international teams in the Open Dialogue system.

Opening Hours (now only online and by phone)

The service is made from Monday to Friday between 14.00 and 18.00 hours. Outside these hours, you should contact the local NHS services and / or the emergency department. You can also call SNS 24 who will advise on the best service for you.

Research and Development

The ODP-NA project is part of a longitudinal research project, coordinated by HOPEnDialogue, an international collaboration platform between the various Open Dialogue projects around the world and based in Rome. We also have the local support of the University of Évora.

Supervision and Monitoring

The Clinical Team is supervised by Professor Mary Olson of the Institute for Dialogic Practice, based at Yale University in the United States. The project is accompanied by the International Consultative Committee of the Romão de Sousa Foundation, including Prof. Dr. Jaakko Seikkula, from the original Finnish team.

How do you define “Psychiatric Crisis” and what situations may be eligible?

Some examples of situations that are considered eligible: anxiety or panic attacks, suicidal ideation or depression (intense sadness), changes in perception or thinking (delusions, hallucinations), serious relationship difficulties and in maintaining day-to-day activities day, mood swings, easy irritability and / or emotional dysregulation.

Some examples of situations where we cannot help: profound intellectual deficiencies that prevent the normal use of language; active dependence on psychoactive substances (alcohol, drugs); severe organic syndromes and dementia syndromes.

Project Lead:

João G. Pereira, PhD

Clinical Team

Sofia Marques, Psychiatrist

Tatiana Ferreira, Psychologist

Cátia Alves, Psychologist

Research Team

Constança Biscaia, Évora University

Sofia Tavares, Évora University

Sofia Graça, MSc Student

Relevant Links


Psychiatric Crisis, Anxiety, Depression, Family Relationships, Lock Down

Associated Users


Portalegre Region


Fundação Romão de Sousa, Direcção Geral de Saúde, Universidade de Évora


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