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Psychotherapy with Suicidal People: A Person-centred Approach

Psychotherapy with Suicidal People: A Person-centred Approach

Antoon A. Leenaars

ISBN: 978-0-470-71341-9 May 2008 480 Pages


Almost a million people die by suicide every year (WHO estimate)

The sheer numbers have made suicide prevention a major health target, but effective prevention is not straightforward. Suicide is a complex event, more complex than most of us imagine, calling for an equally complex response.

Psychotherapy with Suicidal People provides a multi-component approach, with rich clinical data including many case histories, to guide the reader. Based on decades of research from across the globe, Antoon A. Leenaars takes the reader into the mind of the suicidal person, from the young to the elderly, from the anonymous to the famous. There is no better way to know, and thus to treat, a person.

A plethora of special features makes this volume an international classic and includes:
  • Reflections of many suicidologists such as Heraclitus, Plato, Sigmund Freud, Emile Durkheim and Edwin Shneidman.
  • A unique window on the clinical mind of the author.
  • Empirically supported definition, with applications across age, gender, historical time, as well as culture.
  • The report of the International Working Group on Ethical and Legal Issues in Suicidology.
Psychotherapy with Suicidal People: A Person-centred Approach is essential reading for clinical psychologists, psychiatrists and their trainees, and all clinicians who work with suicidal people.
About the Author.



Part I: Understanding.

Chapter 1: Suicide.

Chapter 2: Suicide: A Multidimensional Malaise.

Chapter 3: Unconscious Processes.

Chapter 4: Cognition, Communication, and Suicide Notes.

Part II: Suicide Risk Assessment

Chapter 5: Clinical Evaluation of Suicide Risk.

Chapter 6: Thematic Guide for Suicide Prediction (TGSP).

Chapter 7: TGSP: Practice on Suicide Notes, Psychotherapy Protocols, and Poems.

Chapter 8: Sylvia Plath: A Protocol Analysis of Her Last Poems.

Chapter 9: Rick: A Suicide in a Young Adult.

Chapter 10: Scott: Suicide or Homicide?

Part III: Applications and Psychotherapy.

Chapter 11: Applications for Crisis Intervention with Highly Lethal Suicidal People.

Chapter 12: Applications for Psychotherapy with Suicidal People.

Chapter 13: Justin: A Suicide Attempt in a Four-Year-Old Boy.

Chapter 14: Jeff: A Youth’s Suicide.

Chapter 16: Susan: A Young Adult’s Isolation.

Chapter 17: Peter: An Adult’s Suicidal Pain.

Chapter 18: Joe: An Older Adult’s Suicidal Pain.

Chapter 19: Adjuncts to Psychotherapy: Medication, Hospitalization, and Environmental Control.

Part IV: Implications.

Chapter 20: This Is What I Have Learned.

Chapter 21: Ethical and Legal Issues.

Chapter 22: Munch, Dostoevsky, van Gogh, and a Little Bit of Melville.



“…a more in-depth look at suicidal people…certainly held my interest...” (Accident & Emergency Nursing, No.13, 2005)