Creating Safety and Collaboration
Chronically suicidal clients present a special kind of stress for therapists: there’s not only the emotional stress of working with their pain, but the additional burden of risk, responsibility, and anxiety. When should we hospitalize a suicidal client? How can we best assess when the level of suicidality is an immediate threat to life and safety? What role should suicide contracts play in our work? This workshop offers practical strategies for developing collaborative approaches with suicidal clients despite their resistance to help and transforming their relationships to self-destructive thoughts and impulses. You’ll discover how to:
- Teach body-centered interventions, such as breath, movement, and self-touch, that increase the client’s sense of control over unbearable emotions
- Frame suicidal ideation and impulses as inherently adaptive strategies to past traumatic experiences
- Cultivate an internal sense of safety and positive internal states by activating the body’s innate social engagement system
- Use the three steps of the Fisher Risk Assessment Tool, differentiating ideation and impulse, problems vs. solutions, and relief vs. risk
Janina Fisher, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and instructor at the Trauma Center in Boston, a senior faculty member of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, and a former instructor at Harvard Medical School.