Autopsy of a Suicidal Mind

Autopsy of a Suicidal Mind

3.0 4
by Edwin S. Shneidman, Judy Collins
     
 

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Autopsy of a Suicidal Mind is a uniquely intensive psychological analysis of a suicidal mind. In this poignant scientific study, Edwin S. Shneidman, a founder of the field of suicidology, assembles an extraordinary cast of eight renowned experts to analyze the suicidal materials, including a ten-page suicide note, given to him by a distraught mother looking for

Overview

Autopsy of a Suicidal Mind is a uniquely intensive psychological analysis of a suicidal mind. In this poignant scientific study, Edwin S. Shneidman, a founder of the field of suicidology, assembles an extraordinary cast of eight renowned experts to analyze the suicidal materials, including a ten-page suicide note, given to him by a distraught mother looking for insights into her son's tragic death. The psychological autopsy centers on the interviews conducted by Shneidman with Arthur's mother, father, brother, sister, best friend, ex-wife, girlfriend, psychotherapist, and attending physician.

To gain some understanding of this man's intense psychological pain and to examine what may have been done to save his tortured life, Shneidman approached the top suicide experts in the country to analyze the note and interviews: Morton Silverman, Robert E. Litman, Jerome Motto, Norman L. Farberow, John T. Maltsberger, Ronald Maris, David Rudd, and Avery D. Weisman. Each of the eight experts offers a unique perspective on Arthur's tragic fate, and the sum of their conclusions constitutes an extraordinary psychological autopsy.

This book is the first of its kind and a remarkable contribution to the study of suicide. Mental health professionals, students of human nature, and persons whose lives have been touched by this merciless topic will be mesmerized and enlightened by this unique volume. An epistemological tour de force, it will speak to anyone who is concerned with human self-destruction.

Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Brett C. Plyler, M.D.(Northwestern Memorial Hospital)
Description: This is a psychological examination of a young man's life and his death by suicide. It is conducted by the author and a group of eight suicide experts.
Purpose: The book's purpose is to provide the readers with the inner details of a young man's pain and problems that led to his suicide as well as a discussion by the experts in an attempt to help the reader understand how and why this occurred.
Audience: The book is written for mental health professionals and anyone who has an interest in or been affected by suicide.
Features: The book consists of interviews with the subject's (Arthur) father, mother, sister, brother, ex-wife, former girlfriend, best friend, therapist, and psychiatrist, interspersed with evaluations written by the eight consultants. There is a commentary by Dr. Shneidman as well as a letter written to Arthur's mother from Dr. Shneidman. There is also a copy of the suicide note written by Arthur in the appendix.
Assessment: This book is a fascinating and painful look at a talented young man, both a lawyer and a physician, who committed suicide. The interviews with the family and friends are surprisingly open and honest. The discussions with the therapist and the psychiatrist and their reactions to Arthur's death were extremely valuable to me as a mental health professional dealing with suicidal patients. These accounts as well as the detailed history obtained by Dr. Shneidman provide an intimate portrait of Arthur's life, pain, and problems, and the reader is able to understand how deeply a person's suicide affects the people around him. The consultations all provide a unique perspective on Arthur's difficulties and what may have led to his suicide. The letter written to Arthur's mother by Dr. Shneidman is especially poignant and compassionate. Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who treats suicidal patients or has been in some way affected by suicide.
From the Publisher
"It is plain to us that no one talks or thinks about suicide in quite the way Edwin Shneidman does. His writing invariably challenges readers to think and re-think what they thought they knew. Shneidman loves ideas, he loves words, he loves finding completely distinctive ways of saying important things. As the founder of modern day suicidology, Dr. Shneidman's legacy is rich and vibrant. Shneidman is indisputably an original-a visionary, an innovator, and a pioneer who journeyed forth into a largely unexplored world of suicide fifty years ago."-David A. Jobes, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Catholic University of America, from Cognition and Suicide (American Psychological Association, 2004). Pending approval

"This book stands in the twilight of Shneidman's long life and career, and yet those who are familiar with Shneidman's work will readily see that his analytic powers as an interviewer, investigator, and a writer, shine as brightly as ever." Metapsychology Online

"This collection of professional reflections is priceless and rare, and if words can heal-and in therapy words are the roots of healing in the shared exchange of ideas and emotions-there must be much healing that Arthur's mother and his family can gain from the insights of these experienced and emotionally generous comments." -From the Foreword by Judy Collins

3 Stars from Doody

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195172737
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
02/26/2004
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
9.50(w) x 6.40(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile:
1070L (what's this?)

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