The wide-ranging contexts in which counselling and psychotherapy is now practiced means clients present with a range of risks that therapists have to respond to. Risk is an ever-present issue for counsellors and psychotherapists and, in an increasingly litigious culture, the need for trainees to develop a sound understanding of how the right tools and the right knowledge can support their practice has never been greater. In this book Andrew Reeves takes trainees, newly qualified practitioners, and more experienced practitioners step-by-step through what is meant by risk, offering practical hints and tips and links to policy and research to inform good ethical practice along the way.

This book tackles: The definition of risk and how risk is linked to social, psychological and relational factors; Working with those who are at risk of suicide, self-injury, self-harm and/or are an endangerment to others; How therapists should respond to the risk in situations involving child protection, mental health crises, and in the therapeutic process itself; The positive side of risk-taking; How counsellors and psychotherapists can work with risk proactively and positively, informed by research.

Filled with case studies, ethical dilemmas, reflective questions, discussion questions and further reading, this book offers counsellors and psychotherapists guidance on how they can work with risk proactively and positively. It is an essential resource for all services, organisations and individual practitioners.

Working with a Risk of Suicide

Working with a risk of suicide

Chapter Outline

This chapter will consider counselling and psychotherapy with clients who are suicidal. A definition of suicide will be offered and we will reflect on how we might work effectively with the risk of suicide, and to know when we might need to act to help safeguard our client's wellbeing. The chapter will primarily explore how therapists can help clients identify their suicidal thoughts, how suicide can be helpfully talked about in sessions, and how working with suicide potential can be a collaborative rather than a one-way process.


Suicide is a significant public health concern, with the World Health Organization (WHO) estimating that internationally over 800,000 people die each year through suicide, representing one death ...

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