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Helping the Suicidal Person: Tips and Techniques for Professionals

Helping the Suicidal Person: Tips and Techniques for Professionals

by Stacey Freedenthal
Helping the Suicidal Person: Tips and Techniques for Professionals

Helping the Suicidal Person: Tips and Techniques for Professionals

by Stacey Freedenthal

Paperback(New Edition)

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Helping the Suicidal Person provides a highly practical toolbox for mental health professionals. The book first covers the need for professionals to examine their own personal experiences and fears around suicide, moves into essential areas of risk assessment, safety planning, and treatment planning, and then provides a rich assortment of tips for reducing the person's suicidal danger and rebuilding the wish to live. The techniques described in the book can be interspersed into any type of therapy, no matter what the professional's theoretical orientation is and no matter whether it's the client's first, tenth, or one-hundredth session. Clinicians don't need to read this book in any particular order, or even read all of it. Open the book to any page, and find a useful tip or technique that can be applied immediately.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781138946958
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 09/22/2017
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 274
Sales rank: 406,083
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW, is an associate professor at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work. Her psychotherapy and consulting practice focuses on suicide assessment and intervention.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Author's Note xii

About the Author xiii

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Understanding Suicide and You 5

Tip 1 Reflect on Your Biases about Suicide 5

Tip 2 Take Stock of Your Experiences with Suicide (or Lack Thereof) 9

Tip 3 Confront "Suicide Anxiety" 13

Tip 4 Be Alert to Negative Feelings Toward the Suicidal Person 16

Tip 5 Reject the Savior Role 19

Tip 6 Maintain Hope 21

Chapter 2 Overcoming the Taboo 24

Tip 7 Face Your Fears 24

Tip 8 Directly Ask about Suicidal Thoughts 28

Tip 9 Turn to Techniques for Eliciting Sensitive Information 31

Tip 10 Embrace a Narrative Approach: "Suicidal Storytelling" 35

Tip 11 Ask about Suicidal Imagery, Too 38

Tip 12 Uncover Fears of Hospitalization and Other Obstacles to Disclosure 40

Chapter 3 Joining with the Suicidal Person 43

Tip 13 Recognize that, for Some People, You are an Enemy 43

Tip 14 Avoid Coercion and Control Whenever Possible 46

Tip 15 Resist the Urge to Persuade or Offer Advice 49

Tip 16 Understand the Person's Reasons for Dying 51

Tip 17 Validate the Wish to Die 53

Tip 18 Acknowledge that Suicide is an Option 55

Chapter 4 Assessing Danger 57

Tip 19 Gather Remaining Essentials about Suicidal Thoughts and Behavior 57

Tip 20 Learn about Prior Suicidal Crises: The CASE Approach 64

Tip 21 Cautiously Use Standardized Questionnaires 66

Tip 22 Privilege Warning Signs Over Risk Factors 69

Tip 23 Screen for Access to Firearms 72

Tip 24 Inquire about Internet Use 74

Tip 25 Probe for Homicidal Ideation 76

Tip 26 Collect Information from Family, Professionals, and Others 78

Chapter 5 Assessing Protective and Cultural Factors 81

Tip 27 Examine Reasons for Living 81

Tip 28 Identify Other Protective Factors 84

Tip 29 Pay Attention to Culture 86

Tip 30 Investigate Religious and Spiritual Views of Suicide 90

Chapter 6 Putting It All Together: Estimating Risk 93

Tip 31 Solicit the Person's Own Assessment of Suicide Risk 93

Tip 32 Estimate Acute Risk for Suicide 95

Tip 33 Estimate Chronic Risk for Suicide 99

Tip 34 Document Generously 102

Chapter 7 Attending to Immediate Safety 108

Tip 35 Know When and Why to Pursue Hospitalization 108

Tip 36 Know When and Why Not to Pursue Hospitalization 112

Tip 37 Do Not Use a No-Suicide Contract 115

Tip 38 Collaboratively Develop a Safety Plan 118

Tip 39 Encourage Delay 123

Tip 40 Problem-Solve Around Access to Firearms 125

Tip 41 Discuss Access to Other Means for Suicide, Too 129

Tip 42 In Case of Terminal Illness, Proceed Differently (Perhaps) 131

Tip 43 Seek Consultation 134

Chapter 8 Planning for Treatment 137

Tip 44 Make Suicidality the Focus 137

Tip 45 As Needed, Increase Frequency of Contact 140

Tip 46 Treat Chronic Suicidality Differently 143

Tip 47 Involve Loved Ones 146

Tip 48 Suggest a Physical Exam 148

Tip 49 Recommend an Evaluation for Medication 150

Tip 50 Continue to Monitor Suicidal Ideation 152

Chapter 9 Alleviating Psychological Pain 155

Tip 51 After Safety, Address Suffering 155

Tip 52 Look for Unmet Needs 159

Tip 53 Target Social Isolation 162

Tip 54 Use Grounding Exercises 165

Chapter 10 Exploring Motivations and Misgivings 168

Tip 55 Assume Nothing: Does the Person Want to Give Up Suicide? 168

Tip 56 Tap into Ambivalence 171

Tip 57 Compare Reasons for Living and Dying 173

Tip 58 Invite the Person to Look for the "Catch" 175

Tip 59 Search for Exceptions 177

Chapter 11 Inspiring Hope 179

Tip 60 Frame Suicide as a Problem-Solving Behavior 179

Tip 61 Help Brainstorm an "Options List" 181

Tip 62 Teach the Problem-Solving Method 184

Tip 63 Nourish Future Plans and Goals 186

Tip 64 Incorporate a Hope Kit 189

Tip 65 Highlight Strengths 192

Chapter 12 Drawing from Cognitive Behavior Strategies 194

Tip 66 Connect Suicidal Thoughts to Other Thinking 194

Tip 67 Educate about Cognitive Distortions 198

Tip 68 Help Challenge Negative Thoughts 202

Tip 69 Elicit Coping Statements 207

Tip 70 Rescript Suicidal Imagery 209

Tip 71 Discourage Thought Suppression 212

Tip 72 Foster Acceptance of Suicidal Thoughts 214

Chapter 13 Improving Quality of Life 217

Tip 73 Enhance Coping Skills 217

Tip 74 Cultivate Mindfulness 221

Tip 75 "Broaden and Build" Positive Emotions 225

Tip 76 Pair Behavioral Activation with Values 229

Chapter 14 Moving Forward After a Suicide Attempt 233

Tip 77 Differentiate Between Suicidal and Non-Suicidal Self-Injury 233

Tip 78 Determine the Person's Reaction to Having Survived 236

Tip 79 Conduct a Chain Analysis 238

Tip 80 Evaluate Where the Safety Plan Fell Short 241

Tip 81 Take Advantage of the "Teachable Moment" 243

Tip 82 Attend to the Therapeutic Relationship 245

Tip 83 Address the Trauma of the Suicide Attempt 248

Tip 84 Explore Shame and Stigma 250

Chapter 15 Building Resilience 252

Tip 85 Warn about the Possibility of Relapse 252

Tip 86 Review Lessons Learned 254

Tip 87 Complete a Relapse Prevention Protocol 256

Tip 88 Propose a Letter to the Suicidal Self 259

Tip 89 Follow Up 261

For More Information 264

Index 265

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