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The Psychotherapy Curriculum

Suicide II: The Tipping Point

What makes people finally make the decision to end their lives? Learn new understandings of suicide in a variety of populations, including African American urban teens, bullied kids, survivors of suicide, the terminally ill, and veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Program Description

Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States and the third leading cause of death for young people aged 15-24. A psychologist involved in direct patient care has greater than a one in five chance of losing a patient to suicide during his or her professional career. For the average psychiatrist, the odds are greater than 50/50. Additionally, approximately 33% of social workers have experienced a client suicide.

This program aims to understand the “tipping point,” the suicidal person’s critical decision to take the final step. We dispel the myths of blissful childhood and look at the person’s mindset. We cover how to respond to those at risk (using the suicide continuum and understandings from self psychology), how to understand and listen to the most horrible and frightening thoughts, how to engage the suicidal person through deep connections, and how practical help can restore hope to the terminally ill patient.

Learning Objectives

This program provides clinicians with the opportunity to:

Recognize the prevalence of suicidal ideation in urban African American youth.

Develop an understanding of “the forward edge” in working with bullied adolescents.

Understand how bullying is associated with suicide.

Understand the suicide continuum.

Become familiar with what to say to move an at-risk person toward affirming life.

Understand the complicated grieving process in suicide survivors.

Understand the process of veterans returning home and how the Veterans’ Administration intervenes to combat mental health issues, especially suicide.

Understand why it has become harder and harder for soldier and civilian therapists to connect, as well as how therapists can change that.


Battling Bullying to Prevent Suicide - Mark Smaller, PhD WEBSITE

Dr. Mark Smaller has developed a very successful anti-bullying program in an alternative high school, using psychoanalytic ideas to work with the traumatic helplessness bullied people experience. The concept of “the forward edge,” is particularly important because it uses children’s hopes and aspirations to help them move ahead. 
Interview #3: Sherry Bryant, LCSW, LMFT, CADC “Surviving the Suicide of a Patient and Understanding the Suicide Continuum”

 Sherry Bryant, whose son committed suicide, has developed a suicide continuum and detailed interventions that can be used session by session to move an at-risk person further toward affirming life.

Connecting with Combat Veteran - Martha Bragin, Ph.D., LCSW

All combat veterans are changed by their experience, and it has become harder and harder for soldier and civilian therapists to connect. Their lives are incomprehensible to each other. Dr. Bragin explains why this is so. Soldiers are not “the other,” but their experiences echo our deepest, most buried emotions of anger and aggression.

School-Based Suicide Prevention with African American Youth in an Urban Setting - Julie Grumet-Goldstein, Ph.D.

Dr. Goldstein-Grumet surveyed 800 schoolchildren in Washington DC about their thoughts regarding suicide. Her findings revealed 45% of these students have suicidal ideation. In this interview, she explains the meaning of this.

Suicidal Ideation at End of Life - Ann Goelitz, CSW website

The desire for hastened death in terminally ill patients is a controversial topic, posing numerous challenges for the palliative care team. Dr. Ann Goelitz discusses how this desire may be influenced by factors controlled by the palliative care team.

Suicide Prevention for Veterans - Tousha West

It’s no secret soldiers often return from war with lasting psychological damage, and suicides are occurring at record levels. The Veterans’ Administration has learned homecoming from deployment is critical, and they’re working hard to educate returning soldiers and their families on how to rebuild connections. Tousha West, a suicide prevention coordinator for the Atlanta VA, describes the VA’s work for returning veterans.

Surviving the Suicide of a Patient and Understanding the Suicide Continuum - Sherry Bryant

Sherry Bryant, whose son committed suicide, has developed a suicide continuum and detailed interventions that can be used session by session to move an at-risk person further toward affirming life.

Survivors of Suicide - Joseph McBride, MSW, BCD

Few events in life are more devastating than the loss of a loved one to suicide. Joseph McBride explores and discusses the complicated grieving process of those dealing with these tragic situations.

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Client Testimonials

“These programs were extremely educational and enjoyable.”

... Candice P.

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