Knowledge Tree

Embracing Uncertainty to Enable Transformation: The Process of Engaging in Trialogue for Mental Health Communities in Ireland

Authors:Simon Dunne, School of Nursing and Human Sciences, Dublin City University, IE
Liam MacGabhann, School of Nursing and Human Sciences, Dublin City University, IE
Paddy McGowan, Expert by Experience, Mental Health Consultant, IE
Michaela Amering, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Medical University of Vienna, AT
Research & theory


Introduction: Community-based participatory approaches are valuable methods for improving outcomes and effectively integrating care among mental health communities. Trialogue is one such approach which uses Open Dialogue methods with groups of three or more people from different backgrounds who deal with mental health systems.

Theory and Method: The current study employed a participatory action research design, which prospectively documented the processes and challenges of participating in Trialogue Meetings. Individuals from participating communities took part in interviews, focus groups or Open Dialogue discussions across three cycles of research.

Results: Three prospective themes were identified from participants’ dialogue across the three cycles of research relating to the experience of participating in Trialogue, the development of Open Dialogue skills and the growth of individual Trialogue communities.

Conclusions and Discussion: The findings demonstrate that, where desirable conditions are present, Trialogue Meetings are worthwhile and sustainable community-based participatory approaches which encourage disclosure and dialogue surrounding mental health, and may assist in improved integration of care between mental health stakeholders. In particular, Trialogue Meetings stimulate the development of Open Dialogue skills, provide a platform for “vital” and “transformative” self-expression with the potential for positive mental health outcomes and may facilitate the growth of communities surrounding mental health.

Keywords: Open Dialogue, Trialogue, community-based participatory approach, mental health