Half in Love with Death: Managing the Chronically Suicidal Patient

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Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2007 - Psychology - 224 pages
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Half in Love With Death presents a new way for therapists to manage chronically suicidal patients, an incredibly challenging task for clinicians and one where an insufficient amount of literature exists to guide professionals. Author Joel Paris suggests an approach that defies conventional wisdoms about whether suicide can be predicted or prevented. He asserts that managing chronically suicidal patients begins with tolerating suicidality, understanding the inner world of patients, avoiding repeated hospitalizations, and focusing on life situations that maintain suicidal ideas and behaviors.
 
Each chapter in the book develops a theoretical perspective based on empirical data, and many are illustrated by clinical examples. Topics addressed throughout the text include:
*distinctions among various types of suicidality;
*the inner world of the chronically suicidal patient, with a particular focus on pain, emptiness, and hopelessness;
*the relationship between chronic suicidality and personality disorders, especially the category of borderline personality;
*the effectiveness of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy for chronically suicidal patients; and
*the risks of litigation in managing this patient population.
 
This volume is a crucially important resource for clinicians who treat chronically suicidal patients, as it fills a gap in existing literature and provides enlightened guidelines that stem from a large body of research in the field.

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This is a fantastic and perceptive book. It contains very helpful, evidence-based but counterintuitive suggestions; for example, Paris explains why hospitalizing someone who is chronically suicidal is not helpful and may actually be harmful. I think this is one of the most readable and useful books in this field. 

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About the author (2007)

Joel Paris is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University.

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