Relational Suicide Assessment:
Client and Family Risks and Resources
One Day Workshop
The hopelessness and desperation of our suicidal clients, as well as the high-stakes involved in working with them, can invite us to adopt a kind of therapeutic tunnel-vision—a singular focus on individual risk factors. Attending to such dangers is critical, of course, but family therapists know better than anyone that behaviors, thoughts, and emotions only make sense in context. To evaluate clients’ imminent risk of making an attempt, it is necessary to consider how their relationships with significant others could be contributing to the danger. And then these intra- and interpersonal risks can only be properly understood within the context of the individual and family resources for responding resiliently to the suicidality.
This workshop will prepare participants to undertake relational suicide assessments—empathically-grounded conversations with clients, oriented to developing an “insider’s” understanding of clients’ risks of making an attempt alongside their potential for safely navigating the dangers. We will explore how to effectively broach possible suicidality, ensure that clients don’t feel interrogated, juxtapose different sources of information to help make safety decisions, work collaboratively with clients and family members in the construction of a safety plan, and take care of ourselves throughout the process. We’ll also touch on postvention considerations—how to work with families and schools after someone significant has taken his or her life.
Dr. Douglas Flemons is Professor of Family Therapy, Clinical Professor of Family Medicine, and Co-Director of the Office of Suicide and Violence Prevention at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) in Florida, USA. A licensed marriage and family therapist and AAMFT Clinical Fellow and Approved Supervisor, Douglas was the Director of Student Counseling at NSU for over six years. He is the lead author of Relational Suicide Assessment, as well as the author of books on hypnosis …read more
Original post: Family Therapy Association of Ireland