Building a Therapeutic Alliance

Building a Therapeutic Alliance with the Suicidal Patient. Eds: Konrad Michel and David Jobes

This book is a work of genius among the top suicidologists in the U.S. and Europe. The editors actually want to help suicidal people get better and try to make their life worth living. Like most of Drs. David Jobes and Konrad Michal work, they have done an excellent review of the literature and made the book easy to read without a lot of psychological jargon.  This book should be used as a handbook for anyone dealing with suicidal individuals.  As someone who has been through many suicidal episodes with many different therapists, this book is groundbreaking.  It lists his classic work of CAMS (collaborating and managing suicidality) which is a tried and true way of dealing with lethal suicidality in an outpatient setting. The other evidence based therapists will enhance therapy around this work.

The Chapters are broken down easy enough and progress from good to bad in my opinion, of the treatments that work.  The conclusion was brilliant by Dr. Jobes. He has stated with clarity the hardships that are faced with suicidality such as the IRB approvals for research, clinicians wanting to work with this population, and the need to try and keep these people in therapy.

The brilliance surrounding this book is the alliance part of it. Without a therapeutic alliance, you cannot have a good report with a therapist and the therapist cannot have a good report with the client. The essential element is having a good working relationship that builds on trust and collaboration. The therapist must want to know the client’s story in a non-judgmental, non-criticizing way. By listening to this story, the therapist engages the client and the client feels validated and understood. This is a central element to helping any client in psychotherapy, in any discipline.

This book covers most of the therapeutic disciplines and how it relates to treating someone with suicidal ideation. It also offers empirical evidence that supports treatment of suicidal individuals, from psychodynamic to cognitive therapies.

I believe this book should be read by every graduate student and post graduate in the mental health field. This book can also augment education for those that are already in the field and practicing psychology or psychiatry.

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