Counselling Suicidal Clients

Front Cover
SAGE Publications, Mar 3, 2010 - Psychology - 200 pages
"I have worked in psychiatry as well as in private practice with suicidal people. I found it poignant and true when Reeves points out that people do not have to be mad to be suicidal and '...that assessing suicide potential fundamentally lies in engaging with the suicidal client at a deeper relational level'. So true. This thoroughly researched book is written with passion and compassion. It will be a valuable addition to the libraries of therapists and anyone else who works with suicidal people." -

Therapy Today, July 2010

"A uniquely accessible, comprehensive and practical guide. Essential reading for counsellors and psychotherapists and all helping professionals who work with clients at risk of suicide." -

Mick Cooper, Professor of Counselling, University of Strathclyde

"A 'must read' for counsellors of all experience levels, offering sound practical strategies alongside thought-provoking case studies and discussion points. Reeves addresses this difficult topic with depth, breadth and integrity. Excellent." -

Denise Meyer, developer and lead author of

"Andrew Reeves brings together his experience as a social worker, counsellor and academic to explore the essential elements in working with suicidal clients. His openness and integrity in writing about this complex topic creates a valuable resource for reflective practice." -

Barbara Mitchels, Solicitor and Director of Watershed Counselling Service, Devon.

Counselling Suicidal Clients addresses the important professional considerations when working with clients who are suicidal. The 'bigger picture', including legal and ethical considerations and organisational policy and procedures is explored, as is to how practitioners can work with the dynamics of suicide potential in the therapeutic process.

The book is divided into six main parts:

- The changing context of suicide

- The prediction-prevention model, policy and ethics

- The influence of the organisation

- The client process

- The practitioner process

- The practice of counselling with suicidal clients.

The book also includes chapters on the discourse of suicide, suicide and self-injury, and self-care for the counsellor. It is written for counsellors and psychotherapists, and for any professional who uses counselling skills when supporting suicidal people.


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An Introduction
2 Historical Perspectives on Suicide and the Emergence of the Medical Model
3 Suicide Trends and Statistics
Part II The Prediction Prevention Model Policy and Ethics
4 Suicide Risk Factors and Assessment
5 The Influence of Policy and the PredictionPrevention Culture
6 The Ethical Imperative of Suicide
7 Confidentiality Capacity and Consent
12 From SelfMurder to SelfSupport
Annihilation and Survival
Part V The Counsellor Process
Personal Perspectives and Professional Actions
15 Potential Dangers and Difficulties
Part VI Key Aspects of Counselling with Suicidal Clients
Supporting Practice
17 Good Practice for SelfSupport

Part III Organizations
8 Counselling Suicidal Clients in Organizational Settings
9 Developing Procedures and Guidance
Part IV The Client Process
10 Understanding Suicide
11 The Use of Language in Counselling Suicidal Clients
18 Training Implications for Counselling
Part VII Conclusions
19 Concluding Thoughts

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About the author (2010)

Dr Andrew Reeves has worked as a counsellor and supervisor in various settings for over twenty years. Originally qualified as a social worker, he specialised in child protection and adult mental health before moving to working full-time as a counsellor at the University of Liverpool. Following the death by suicide of one of his clients early in his career, he undertook extensive research into ways in which counsellors and psychotherapists work with suicidal clients and he has written extensively about this since. His recent book with SAGE, Counselling Suicidal Clients (2010), has quickly become a popular title, as has Key Issues for Counselling in Action (second edition), which he co-edited with Professor Windy Dryden. His award-winning training DVD, Tight Ropes and Safety Nets: Counselling Suicidal Clients (with Jon Shears and Sue Wheeler) is now being used by many therapy training programmes throughout the UK.

His new book, An Introduction to Counselling and Psychotherapy: From Theory to Practice (2013) has several aims: to help provide prospective students of counselling and psychotherapy with information to support their training decisions; to help integrate theory into their early steps in working with clients on a practice placement; and to help bridge the move from qualification into practice as a therapist.

He has other new projects in the pipeline, including editing the new series Essential Issues for Counselling and Psychotherapy, in which he will be writing the new title Working with Risk in Counselling and Psychotherapy, as well as working with Windy Dryden on the sixth edition of the bestselling SAGE text, The Handbook of Individual Therapy.

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