Douglas Flemons • Friday Afternoon
There’s no weightier responsibility for a therapist than assessing a client’s risk for suicide. With such high stakes, it’s understandable that therapists sometimes overfocus on the dangers involved, neglecting to therapeutically consider the individual’s resources and the potential for safety. In this workshop, you’ll learn the essential elements of a balanced suicide assessment. We’ll explore what questions to be sure to ask and how best to ask them; how to intersperse your questions with empathic statements; how to introduce therapeutic possibilities; and how to confidentially arrive at a safety decision. You’ll also learn how to collaborate with the client in developing an innovative alternative to “no suicide” contracts: a safety plan that identifies concrete options, achievable steps, and reliable interpersonal resources.
Douglas Flemons, Ph.D., is professor of family therapy and codirector of the Office of Suicide and Violence Prevention at Nova Southeastern University. He’s the coauthor of Relational Suicide Assessment, coeditor of Quickies: The Handbook of Brief Sex Therapy, and author of Of One Mind: Writing Between the Lines.