Dr Tom Stockmann

About Tom Stockmann

General Psychiatry specialist registrar in North East London, Training Mentor and practitioner of  Peer-supported Open Dialogue (POD).  Tom is a member of the innovative NELFT Dialogue First team, which provides UK-wide Open Dialogue-inspired care.

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About Tom Stockmann and Open Dialogue

Tom Stockmann is a General Psychiatry specialist registrar in North East London. He has completed the NHS Foundation Training in Peer-supported Open Dialogue (POD) and practices POD within his clinical work. This includes being a member of the innovative NELFT Dialogue First team, which provides Open Dialogue-inspired care and is open to GP referrals from across the UK. Together with Dr Russell Razzaque, he recently published an Introduction to POD in the British Journal of Psychiatry Advances journal. He also edits the POD Bulletin  which provides updates and insights on the UK POD project.

Open Dialogue Workshop

The Open Dialogue approach is both a philosophical/theoretical approach to people experiencing a mental health crisis and their families/networks, and a system of care, developed in Western Lapland in Finland over the last 25-30 years.

In the 1980s psychiatric services in Western Lapland were in a poor state, in fact they had one of the worst incidences of the diagnosis of schizophrenia’ in Europe. Now they have the best documented outcomes in the Western World. For example, around 75% of those experiencing psychosis have returned to work or study within 2 years and only around 20% are still taking antipsychotic medication at 2 year follow-up.

Remarkably, Open Dialogue is not an alternative to standard psychiatric services, it is the psychiatric service in Western Lapland. This has afforded a unique opportunity to develop a comprehensive approach with well-integrated inpatient and outpatient services. Working with families and social networks, as much as possible in their own homes, Open Dialogue teams work to help those involved in a crisis situation to be together and to engage in dialogue.

It has been their experience that if the family/team can bear the extreme emotion in a crisis situation, and tolerate the uncertainty, in time shared meaning usually emerges and healing/recovery is possible. Open Dialogue has drawn on a number of theoretical models, including systemic family therapy, dialogical theory and social constructionism.

The North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT) is leading on a national multi-centre Open Dialogue pilot that seeks to transform the model of health care provided to patients with major mental health problems in the UK.  Tom Stockmann, Chris Salway and Joanne Tudball are involved with the project to look at the pioneering potential of Open Dialogue .

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