Chronically Suicidal Clients: Developing Understanding and Strategies for Help

Facilitator: Dr Nick Bendit

Workshop overview
For many clients, suicidal feelings occur once in their life during periods when they are overwhelmed by current life stressors. Helping such clients is usually a relatively straightforward process. The most commonly applied psychotherapeutic and psychiatric techniques are usually successful. However, more difficult are those clients who have been suicidal all of their adult life. These clients do not respond to medication, social support, community mental health teams, and most other forms of psychotherapy. Many of these clients are also habitually self-destructive, regularly hurting themselves and acting on suicidal impulses. Dealing with clients who are both chronically suicidal and self-destructive can be a source of great anxiety for many professionals. This workshop is intended to help participants develop an understanding of the source of chronic suicidal thoughts and actions, and provide some basic principles for use when treating such clients. This workshop is intended to help participants better understand how developmental trauma creates these unbearable feelings and actions within these clients, and through understanding this, provide some basic principles of how to help them. Further adult trauma exacerbates the clients’ problems and complicates treatment. The workshop is intended to be practical in nature, but will also cover the research that supports evidence-based treatment. Finally, we will focus on the different challenges working with chronically suicidal clients present to professionals, and some strategies for managing them.

Learning objectives

  • To be able to differentiate between acute suicidal crises and chronic suicidality in clients.
  • To understand the cause of chronic suicidality and its relationship to developmental trauma, and the exacerbation of later adult trauma.
  • To understand the relationship between chronic suicidality, deliberate self-harm and suicide attempts.
  • How to apply practical psychotherapeutic techniques to chronically suicidal clients.
  • How to manage interfacing with other systems (GPs, hospitals, community mental health teams etc) when working with chronically suicidal clients.
  • How to manage one’s own feelings when dealing with chronically suicidal clients, particularly during times of crisis.
  • To be aware of the research base supporting evidence based interventions for chronically suicidal clients.

Dr. Nick Bendit is a staff specialist psychiatrist working at the Centre for Psychotherapy (Newcastle, Australia), a publicly funded outpatient psychotherapy unit offering long-term psychotherapy for patients with borderline personality disorder, eating disorders, and dissociative disorders (DID). He treats patients, supervises and teaches in the Conversational Model, and also treats patients, and teaches mental health clinicians, in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT). The Centre for Psychotherapy has completed a randomised controlled trial comparing the outcome for patients with borderline personality disorder treated with either DBT or the Conversational Model. Nick is the Director of Training for ANZAP’s 3 year psychodynamic psychotherapy training in Conversational Model.

This event counts as 7 hours of category A CPD for PACFA’s membership renewal requirements

For full details and to register: www.startts.org.au

9:30 am - 5:30 pm

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