Article Review: Working with Suicidal Clients
I have to say that this article was not what I expected. It was an overview to the special issue the journal Cognitive and Behavioral Practice was having. The authors of the article described briefly what each article was about, which left me looking for more articles to add to my collection. But the take away message was that suicidal clients are to be treated as individuals and not as a “one size fits all” treatment modality.
Cognitive therapy has been moving up in the suicide chain as being helpful to suicide clients (Jobes, 2015 presentation AAS). DBT is also as it has helped a lot of clients with borderline personality disorder.
I found it interesting that there was a safety planning section. I googled it to try and learn more and there was a website for it. I downloaded the form as well as the training manual. It might come in useful in my therapy. I didn’t need the article to get to the form. It is similar to many other planning tools used by cognitive therapists. The thing I don’t like about it is that it is a sheet of paper that can get lost or misplaced. It also has the potential of not being used if the client is not near the paper when a crisis is at hand (e.g., at school versus at home). The author for the brief article has stated that therapists are slowly moving away from “no harm” contracts and moving toward safety planning. The reason being that “no harm” contracts have not been shown to be effective and may increase the likelihood of suicide. Also, simply making a promise not to kill yourself doesn’t really hold up well legally.
Ellis, T.E. and Goldston, David B. Working with Suicidal Clients: Not Business as Usual. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice (2012) 19: 205-208