In this lecture, counsellor and trainer Emma Chapman – who has a particular interest in suicide prevention, having worked at a specialist charity in this field – will help you develop a basic awareness of how to work safely with clients who experience thoughts of suicide.
This will enable you to:
- recognise the importance of speaking to clients about suicide
- explore your own thoughts and feelings about suicide, and how these might affect your client work
- identify how you can best support clients at risk of suicide to stay safe.
Emma will present key statistics relating to suicide, and information on which demographic groups are particularly at risk. You will then learn about:
- the legacy of the criminalisation of suicide
- how you can use language skillfully to avoid adding to the stigma and silence around suicide
- what stops clients from talking about suicide
- barriers that discourage counsellors from asking clients about suicide.
Self-awarenesss – which is key in the world of counselling and psychotherapy – is of particular importance here. Emma will guide you to think about your own views on and feelings about suicide, while encouraging you to take a break from the lecture if you need to, and to use clinical supervision and personal therapy when appropriate to explore and understand your attitudes more fully.
You will learn how to spot the signs and symptoms of suicidal thoughts, plans and intent in clients – and what to do and to avoid doing in order to best support clients with these experiences.
In particular, Emma will show you how to create a safety plan to help keep the client safe between counselling sessions, and how to use this yourself to assess the client’s level of risk.
Emma concludes the lecture with suggested areas that she recommends you explore in further training, and a list of specialist organisations to which you can refer clients at risk of suicide – so supporting you to practise ethically and safely.