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Problem definition and assessment for suicidality

Video Type: In Practice

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Summary

Peter is a 35 year old man who is currently unemployed. His partner is very busy with her career and Peter feels she barely notices that he is struggling. Normally very active physically, Peter has given up on exercising. He is saying no to social invitations and has also stopped engaging in one of his favorite hobbies, watching films. He describes a sort of numbness: he says he “doesn't' think” about any of these things. While he can identify a degree of “anxiety”, he has difficulty articulating his emotional experience. Here Marc opens with a recap that helps to orient Peter to the discussion to come. He ends by confirming his understanding with Peter before seeking a thicker description of the problem. What questions do you notice that help to paint a vivid picture of what the problem looks like in Peter's life? What does Marc do to ensure that Peter is not suicidal? What aspects of this practice might you have done similarly/differently? In this exchange, Marc checks in on Peter's ideation to ensure he is not contemplating suicide. Notice he does not dance around the topic but names it explicitly. He is transparent in seeking permission to ask about Peter's possible suicidality. Suicide does not appear as a current risk, so while Marc will keep it in mind, he does not pursue the topic further at this time.

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