Attitudes Toward Therapists Who Lose Patients to Suicide

Authored by: Erin F. Ward-Ciesielski , John L. McIntosh , Joscelyn Rompogren

Routledge International Handbook of Clinical Suicide Research

Print publication date:  October  2013
Online publication date:  October  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415530125
eBook ISBN: 9780203795583
Adobe ISBN: 9781134459292


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Providers across health care disciplines have the potential to encounter individuals who are suicidal and, as a result, to lose individuals under their care to suicide. This clinical inevitability is undeniably impactful and can have significant consequences for the treating professional, ranging from legal and professional repercussions to psychological and personal effects. In recent years, there has been a growing interest and increased research conducted on the topic of psycho- therapists who lose patients to suicide (e.g., Weiner, 2005; Dyregrov, 2011; Gutin, McGann, & Jordan, 2011). This body of evidence focuses almost exclusively on issues related to the experiences of the treating therapists at the time of the suicide (e.g., Gorkin, 1985). In particular, this research provides initial data concerning the personal and professional reactions to the suicide (e.g., Fox & Cooper, 1998; Farberow, 2005), possible ideas for postvention programs or courses (Kolodny, Binder, Bronstein, & Friend, 1979), as well as information and support for therapists in the event of a client suicide (Michel, 1997; Rycroft, 2005). However, though growing, current evidence remains sparse regarding the experiences of patient suicides for those impacted.

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