Cognitive Therapy for Suicidal Patients: Scientific and Clinical Applications

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Suicide is one of the most daunting challenges that clinicians encounter in their practice. Unfortunately, compared with other mental health issues, there is a paucity of research designed to conceptualize and treat it. This may be why relatively few interventions have been developed specifically to prevent suicide. At the same time, the degree to which interventions with established efficacy apply to suicidal patients is unclear, because these patients are often excluded from clinical trials. Cognitive Therapy for Suicidal Patients: Scientific and Clinical Applications begins to close these gaps in suicide theory and practice. For over 30 years, Aaron T. Beck and his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania have been conducting empirical research that examines the risk factors for and treatment of suicide ideators and attempters. The result is a book that crystallizes over three decades of basic, clinical, and therapeutic research, providing a comprehensive review of the literature on psychological factors associated with suicidal behavior.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: Ask any psychologist what the greatest risk for injury or loss of life in a mental health patient is, and the answer will inevitably be suicide attempts. This is a critical area in the care of patients with mental illness and often commands the full attention of workshops, continuing education, and student training. This book consolidates that information into a written format for use by clinicians and trainees.
Purpose: Although clinicians may find sporadic seminars, CEs, or workshops on treating suicidal patients, this book brings together a cognitive conceptualization of suicide, an empirical review of the literature on suicide, and a protocol for treating these patients.
Audience: The target audience is quite obviously any mental health professional, including psychologists, psychiatrists, and paraprofessionals in the field. Students of these disciplines will also be interested in the book. It is edited by well respected clinicians and researchers.
Features: The book begins with an introduction to the nomenclature and ways of classifying suicide in terms of intent and lethality. Next is an in-depth review of the risk factors associated with suicide, including demographics, psychiatric history, psychological variables, and protective factors. Several theories of suicide are discussed and the importance of dysfunctional attitudes, hopelessness, and impulsivity is integrated into this theoretical construct. A chapter on the empirical support for a wide range of treatment options for suicide completes the first section. Each of these chapters has an overview and summary section that make for a coherent package. Chapter 5 seems to be wasted space, providing as it does an incredibly brief overview of general cognitive therapy, which readers should already be familiar with. The subsequent chapters more specifically devoted to suicide, however, are outstanding. They include case examples, sample scripts, and assessment instruments to monitor and track suicidal ideation and warning signs. There also is an entire chapter devoted to figuring out the timeline and features associated with a suicide attempt in an effort to better characterize, treat, and abort future attempts. The next two chapters flow nicely from this effort with instructions on evaluating core beliefs and preventing relapse. Furthermore, the special issue of suicide attempts in patients with comorbid substance abuse receives attention, as does prevention of attempts. The references are up to date and the index is reasonable.
Assessment: Therapists and students familiar with cognitive therapy will find this book an indispensable adjunct for working with suicidal patients. Not only is the review of the literature worthwhile, the step-by-step protocol for working with these patients is an essential tool in any therapist's repertoire.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781433804076
  • Publisher: American Psychological Association
  • Publication date: 10/15/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 386
  • Sales rank: 827,529
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction Aaron T. Beck Beck, Aaron T. 3

I Cognitive Theory and Empirical Research 13

Ch. 1 Classification and Assessment of Suicide Ideation and Suicidal Acts 15

Ch. 2 Correlates of and Risk Factors for Suicidal Acts 31

Ch. 3 A Cognitive Model of Suicidal Acts 53

Ch. 4 Evidence-Based Treatments for the Prevention of Suicidal Acts 79

II Clinical Applications 101

Ch. 5 Cognitive Therapy: General Principles 103

Ch. 6 Early Phase of Treatment 127

Ch. 7 Cognitive Case Conceptualization of Suicidal Acts 153

Ch. 7 Intermediate Phase of Treatment 173

Ch. 9 Later Phase of Treatment 199

Ch. 10 Challenges in Treating Suicidal Patients 215

III Applications to Special Populations 233

Ch. 11 Cognitive Therapy for Suicidal Adolescents 235

Ch. 12 Cognitive Therapy for Suicidal Older Adults 263

Ch. 13 Cognitive Therapy for Suicidal Patients With Substance Dependence Disorders 283

Ch. 14 Conclusion: A Public Health Model for Suicide Prevention 311

App Outline of Cognitive Therapy for Suicidal Patients 319

References 321

Author Index 357

Subject Index 367

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