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Essentials: Psychological approaches to working with people who experience suicidal thoughts and behaviour

Wednesday 09th February 2022

Virtual Event via Zoom

10:30am Welcome, 11:00am Start and 03:30pm, Finish


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This interactive skills class aims to help practitioners feel more empowered in delivering evidence-based therapeutic approaches to talking with and interacting with people experiencing suicidal thoughts and behaviour. We will present a brief overview of the nature and scale of suicide and suicidality (i.e., the continuum of suicidal thoughts, feelings, plans and behaviour) outlining contemporary research findings regarding psychological concepts of suicidality.  

Predominately, we will focus on illustrating and demonstrating how these approaches can be used in everyday practice; in particular maximising client control, and focusing on helping clients shift and sustain their awareness towards their own important life goals which could be affected. 

Suicide is a leading cause of death UK-wide, accounting for over 6,000 deaths and 120,000 suicide attempts annually. Suicide prevention is a government and NHS priority yet traditional approaches have had little impact and suicidal individuals and their clinicians often report feeling stressed and ill equipped for such work. Recent research on the psychological factors of suicidality may offer new directions for practitioners at every level to understand and work therapeutically with people who experience suicidal thoughts and behaviour.                

National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health. (2021). Annual report: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Manchester. University of Manchester.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). 2011. Self-harm in over 8’s: long term management. Clinical guideline (CG133)

Carey, T. A., Mansell, W., & Tai, S. (2015). Principles-based counselling and psychotherapy: A Method of Levels approach. Routledge.

After attending this course delegates will be able to…

  • Appreciate the individual and societal context of suicide and suicidality
  • Appreciate findings from research that inform key concepts within contemporary theoretical frameworks that explain the function of suicidality and how these relate to working with people in suicidal crisis
  • Learn strategies to work effectively with and from the perspective of people experiencing suicidality
  • Appreciate the key points for becoming a reflective practitioner in order to maintain one’s own personal wellbeing and professional effectiveness  
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