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CONFER. Preventing Suicide: Psychotherapeutic approaches to helping people at risk of dying from de


Venue Grange Fitzrovia Hotel Bolsover Street London W1W 5NB

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A suicide threat or fantasy is one of the most challenging problems that clients can bring to therapy, and may throw the practitioner into a state of anxiety about how to respond appropriately in both assessing the risk and preventing the act. Having suicide specific interventions in place frees us up to collaboratively manage the risk of suicide while working on the relationship difficulties, emotional or psychological problems that inevitably underpin or relate to the person’s suicidality. This seminar is led by two specialists in working psychotherapeutically to prevent suicide and treat its underlying state of mind using various approaches, including Dialectical Behavioural Therapy. DBT emerged from the perceived ineffectiveness of CBT in treating Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), which often incorporates suicidal ideation, suicide attempts and self-harm, and enables patients to learn to tolerate distress through mindfulness, emotion regulation and interpersonal competence. They will suggest that the challenges of developing and maintaining a therapeutic alliance with a suicidal patient can be considerable. However, what is required is refreshingly familiar, and with practice by no means insurmountable. The basics are, as always, very important: empathy, understanding. Recognition of the reality of death requires a kind of agreement with the patient: If they remain to see if with the therapist they can find a solution to their problems there is a chance that they can solve them or learn to live with them without ending their life. The person can choose to kill themselves later, so in reality therapists are asking people to suspend this decision to give something else a chance to help. Killing one self while in therapy will mean that therapy has no chance of working. This agreement is central to the therapeutic relationship with the suicidal person.

This seminar will be of use to any practitioner currently dealing with a suicidal patient, or concerned that a suicide risk may arise at some time and wishing to have suitable skills in place.


Dr. Christine Dunkley

She is a consultant psychotherapist and senior accredited practitioner with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. She is also a Senior Trainer in the British Isles Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Training Team. She original qualified as a medical social worker in 1982, moving into psychological therapy in 1986. Since retiring from 20 years in an NHS psychology department she supervises specialist treatment teams across the UK and Ireland in the delivery of mindfulness-based therapies. She is an international trainer in the treatment of suicidal self-harming patients using DBT...

Eoin Galavan, BA Psych, MA Coun. Psych., D.Clin.Psych., PG Cert DBT, MIACP, Reg. Clin. Psychol. PSI. Dr Eoin Galavan is a Senior Clinical and Counselling Psychologist in the HSE, North Dublin Adult Mental Health Services. He is currently the Clinical Lead for the North Dublin Suicide Assessment and Treatment Service (SATS), and former team leader for the Evolve Dialectical Behaviour Therapy program, both of which are dedicated to treating suicidality and self-harm within the public mental health services. Eoin works with suicidal individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds on a daily basis. Eoin is a highly experienced clinician in utilising the CAMS (Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicide) model. He is a Senior CAMS-care consultant and has trained hundreds of mental health professionals, counsellors, psychotherapists and volunteers in working with suicidal individuals. He has overseen the roll out of the CAMS model in mental health services, and supervised research examining the outcomes of these services. Eoin is chair for the recently established Special Interest Group in Suicide and Self Harming Behaviour for the Psychological Society of Ireland. Eoin also maintains a private practice where he works with suicidal people of all ages and the parents of suicidal young people. Eoin frequently delivers public talks, national and international conference presentations and contributes to the media on the topic of suicide, as well as authoring articles on the topic. Eoin is currently a Clinical Tutor, Senior Supervising Psychologist and Lecturer in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Training Program in Trinity College Dublin.ement, listening and developing a working alliance. The challenge is to include these in an encounter which must also incorporate some direct and challenging conversations.

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