Article Review: Working with Suicidal Clients

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

3 thoughts on “Article Review: Working with Suicidal Clients

  1. never heard about WRAP. I will look into it though. I’m glad you enjoy my blog. Yes I am a learner. No one teaches this stuff in school so you got to go outside the box, though I never believe in boxes. Too confining.


  2. Hi midnightdemons7, from your posts, it looks like you’re lifelong learner, too! Thanks for posting this article review. I have a patient in the hospital right now who is very young and attempted suicide. We’re still waiting for him to wake up. Have you looked into what a WRAP plan is? It’s to help prepare for crisis moments, too. It’s another method that employs the planning aspect and focuses on having each individual pick and choose which coping methods or crisis intervention methods would work best for them, specifically. With my patients, I usually have them pick a few strategies, have them write it out on a piece of paper that can fit in a wallet, make a few copies, laminate them, and ask them where they would like to place their copies. Some people just keep it in their wallets, and some people like to keep copies in their car, on the fridge, right next to do the door, etc.


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