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What are network meetings? Gould Farm Clinician AJ explains

Farm staff participate in mock Network Meeting training. (L-R: Nathaniel Rundle, Colby Wadel, Nathan Yaple, Brett Thatcher, and Matthew McMahon).

Network meetings at Gould Farm serve as intentional gatherings that weave together the various threads of our therapeutic community—clinical, residential, and work team members—to support guests around their goals. As clinician, AJ Metthe, LICSW, emphasizes, "Network meetings bring each individual guest and their staff team together to reflect on their recovery journey. They are one of many opportunities for guests at Gould Farm to regularly practice asking for and accepting support."

Grounded in the principles of Open Dialogue, these meetings prioritize inclusivity, respect, and collaboration, providing a platform where every participant's voice is valued. AJ notes, "Network meetings help guests figure out what's important to them in their day-to-day lives at Gould Farm and begin to think together about how to carry these strengths into a meaningful life after the Farm." 

What is Open Dialogue? With an emphasis on being responsive to the needs of the whole person, instead of trying to eradicate symptoms, Open Dialogue aims to create a dialogue, or a sense of “with-ness” rather than “about-ness” with meeting participants by dropping the clinical gaze and listening to what people say—rather than what we think they mean. - From the Institute for Dialogic Practice website. 

Rather than adhering to a rigid agenda, network meetings emphasize open conversation and reflection. This approach fosters a sense of agency and ownership among guests, empowering them to actively participate in their recovery process. AJ highlights, "Network meetings are a tool for guests to internalize individual strengths and to work through challenges with the support of the small team of staff who walk with—and alongside—them." In contrast to the segmented nature of mainstream mental health care, this collaborative style of communication reflects the larger framework of integrated support offered at the Farm, bringing together diverse perspectives to address the complex needs of each guest.

This commitment to network meetings has been a journey of continuous improvement for our staff, spanning several years. Through ongoing reflection and refinement, we have worked diligently to ensure accessibility and engagement for all participants—enhancing the effectiveness and inclusivity of these meetings. They serve as sturdy touchpoints, allowing each individual guest and their staff team to construct a pathway toward resilience and well-being, stone by stone, in the journey of recovery.



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