The Suicidal Adolescentby Moses Laufer
As our knowledge of the change and turmoil of adolescence grows, so the number of issues on which psychotherapeutic techniques can shed light increases: this monograph focuses on one of the most urgent. It provides not only practical insights into dealing with suicidal or potentially suicidal adolescentswith an emphasis on prevention of the problem as… See more details below
As our knowledge of the change and turmoil of adolescence grows, so the number of issues on which psychotherapeutic techniques can shed light increases: this monograph focuses on one of the most urgent. It provides not only practical insights into dealing with suicidal or potentially suicidal adolescentswith an emphasis on prevention of the problem as early as possiblebut also a model of the way in which adolescents may find themselves becoming suicidal. Suicide attempts are rare in childhood; they are generally triggered after puberty by the adolescent's reaction to changes in his newly sexually mature body. It is the body that is perceived ad the enemy, and sometimes the death of the body seems the only recourse. The adolescent who actually attempts to kill himself no longer doubts his actions or his solutions on his mental creations. At the time of his decision to kill himself, he is taken over by his need for peace more than by the fact of his own death.
The monograph contains papers on this topic written by members of the staff of the Brent Adolescent Centre/Centre for Research into Adolescent Breakdown together with the proceedings of a conference on "The Suicidal Adolescent" held in October 1993. It contains a wealth of case material illuminating many aspects of a harrowing problem. Because the book comes directly out of the Centre's work as a walk-in centre, the emphasis is on being alert to danger signals and on methods of arresting their causes. It will, therefore, be of interest not only to clinicians and therapists but also to workers in education, medicine, probation, family work or social welfareindeed, to anyone who works with adolescents.
Description: This book explores issues pertaining to the assessment, treatment, and prevention of suicidality in adolescents. Its 11 chapters are divided into two sections: the first includes articles on various areas of the problem, and the second is made up of papers and discussions from a 1993 conference on the suicidal adolescent. All the authors are on staff at the Brent Adolescent Centre/Centre for Research into Adolescent Breakdown.
Purpose: The purpose is to discuss the "relationship between the period of adolescence and suicide or attempted suicide." The emphasis placed on the unique developmental features of the suicidal adolescent is a worthy one. The authors do a good job discussing the subjective experience of suicidal adolescents and the special treatment strategies involved in working with this population.
Audience: This book appears to be written for a wide range of professionals including educators, physicians, and mental health care professionals. It will be most useful for professionals seeking guidance in the direct clinical management of suicidal adolescents. These authors appear quite experienced in this area.
Features: Many of the chapters provide detailed and lively case examples, but current literature is sparsely referenced. The bibliography represents mostly psychodynamic perspectives on suicide and adolescence. Research on the topic is covered minimally. The index is a subject index.
Assessment: This is a useful and thought-provoking work on the topic. Its strength lies in its coverage of the variety of presentations and manifestations of adolescent suicidality and in its discussion of the clinical challenges of this population (i.e., establishing rapport, working with parents, etc.). There is some redundancy in the coverage of the topic and an absence of empirical information to supplement or support views taken, but on the whole it is a valuable contribution to the clinical literature on adolescent suicidality.
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