This forms part of the context for my conversation with Niels Buus, the Professor of Mental Health Nursing at the Sydney Nursing School based at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, where he is the leader of The Centre for Family-Based Mental Health Care.
Niels has a broad research profile within mental health research, which includes suicide prevention, treatment adherence to antidepressants, clinical supervision of mental health nurses, as well as continuity of care and recovery-oriented health care delivery models.
He is a specialist in ethnographic research methods which can produce nuanced insights into healthcare practices and personal perspectives on health, illness and treatment.
Such approaches are particularly powerful in studies of user-participation in mental health research. As a Scandinavian registered nurse, he is professionally socialized into a strong humanist tradition, emphasizing compassion, openness and equality in healthcare.
In line with this, Niels is engaged in research in the “open dialogue” model of care, and how it could be implemented in Australian healthcare settings.
Niels and I had an extensive conversation covering his early training as a nurse, and the clash between custodial and psychotherapeutic models of care.
He also talked about the birth of open dialogue in a small town in Finland and what it looks like in practice.
We discussed how open dialogue sits alongside ‘Big Pharma’, the usual hierarchies of power and knowledge, and the traditional organisation of state services.
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