Suicide Interventions in Relational Psychotherapy

Suicide Interventions in Relational Psychotherapy

About the Instructor

Lawrence Hedges, Ph.D., Psy.D., ABPP., began seeing patients in 1966 and completed his training in child psychoanalysis in 1973. Since that time his primary occupation has been training and supervising psychoanalysts and psychotherapists individually and in groups on their most difficult cases. He was the Founding Director of the Newport Psychoanalytic Institute in 1983 where he continues to serve as supervising and training analyst.

Throughout his career Dr. Hedges has provided continuing education courses for psychotherapists throughout the United States and abroad. He has published 22 books on various topics of interest to psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists, three of which have received the Gradiva best book of the year award. During the 1909 centennial celebrations of The International Psychoanalytic Association his 1992 book, Interpreting the Countertransference, was named one of the key contributions in the relational track during the first century of psychoanalysis. In 2015 Dr. Hedges was distinguished by being awarded honorary membership in the American Psychoanalytic Association for his many contributions to psychoanalysis.

Suicide Interventions in Relational Psychotherapy

About this Course

This intermediate to advanced course for mental health professionals begins with the awareness that our ability to predict suicide is little better than chance and that at present there are no consistently reliable empirically validated treatment techniques to prevent suicide. However, Dr. Hedges will demonstrate that in the past three decades much has been learned about the dynamics of suicide and many promising treatment approaches have been advanced that are slowly yielding clinical as well as empirical results.

Course Objectives

  • Define what Edwin Schneiderman means by “psychache”.
  • Describe Joiner’s interpersonal approach to understanding and managing suicide.
  • State how the attachment-abandonment dynamic can lead to instrumental suicidality.
  • State how the connection-withdrawal dynamic can lead to lethal suicidality.
  • Explain what can be learned in a “suicide autopsy”.
  • State the difference between “a cry for help” and “a cry of pain”.

Educational Goals

In light of the current global epidemic of suicides the research that this course presents will point toward many kinds of interventions that therapists can make with clients who present as seriously suicidal. The thrust of the course is to allow therapists to “relax into and move toward” the suicide threat rather than simply dread and fear it with clients. The importance of a long-term “therapeutic alliance” between therapists and clients will be emphasized as well as the many ways such a relationship can fostered until safety is reached.

Course Outline

  • Early Morning session surveys the many ideas that have evolved over the past two decades of how therapists can most effectively align themselves with the suicidal client in order to set up a “working together” to forming a joint understanding of what the suicidal urge is about for the client.
  • Late Morning session presents a series of case study vignettes that illustrate various developmental levels of suicidal concern in clients and how therapists can most effectively join the client in considering what is emotionally most important.
  • Early Afternoon session presents the salient theoretical and clinical approaches of eight different schools of psychotherapy and how each school conceptualizes and works with the suicidal client.
  • Late afternoon session pulls together many themes of the day and offers explicit techniques for establishing safety for clients in psychotherapy and concludes with further case applications.
  • March 20, 2021
    9:00 am - 4:00 pm
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