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Wanted: Therapists who won’t panic


A short post for the holiday. But good news: Finding a therapist who’s willing to work with suicidal clients might get easier. The online therapist finder, HelpPRO, now allows advanced searches for therapists who specialize in “suicidal thoughts.” And it expects to launch a suicide prevention therapist finder later this year.

“We need a critical mass of at least 500 therapists who work with suicidal thinking in order to launch. We are almost there,” HelpPRO’s Jeanne Blauner wrote in an email last month. ” If you know any clinicians who work in this area and can spread the word that would be great. ”

A search for therapists who specialize in suicidal thoughts within five miles of Midtown Manhattan, for example, brought up 25 results, though some were duplicated listings.

Just how comfortable listed therapists actually are with people who feel suicidal, or who just want to discuss the topic of suicide or thoughts of suicide, is something each client still has to discover. But narrowing down the field to people who presumably won’t panic or reject clients sounds like a good step forward. It’s long been a guessing game otherwise, sometimes with uncomfortable results.

It’s worth reading the story that HelpPRO says inspired its work … and wondering why it’s taken the system so long to change.

Two other quick notes before returning to a full weekly post next Monday: The Mad in America site last week started posting our material. And well-known UK author, political strategist and national mental health advocate Alastair Campbell published a guest post last week about this blog and other sites that tell the stories of “out” attempt survivors.

4 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. I know why therapists don’t want to take on suicidal clients. They don’t want to be liable. They fear malpractice. They even fear losing the client. But I believe that despite this, with the right treatment, therapists can see suicidal clients. It just takes a little bit of courage and trust, a lot of it. Not only on the therapist’s part, but also the client. The client also needs to have a trust in the therapist that they aren’t going to be dumped in the hospital every single fricken time they get suicidal. The therapies out there that help are by David Jobes, CAMS and by using his suicide status form. Also using the Aeschi model helps. Knowing why the client wants to kill themselves says a lot. By not allowing the client to share his story, he gives his therapist a reason to distrust him. I do hope that there comes a day when graduate schools are mandated to have some kind of suicide preventions/treatment protocols in their curriculums. It shouldn’t be up to the therapist’s own style of interviewing that should be dependent on their suicide knowledge. That and the use of no-suicide contracts should be discontinued as long as something like CAMS is in place or the QPR by Paul Quinnett. I forget what QPR stands for but it is a useful resource.


  2. QPR stands for question, persuade and refer. All of those fears for a therapist are relevant. It also can scare people because they do not understand it or know how to deal with it.


  3. As a Schema Therapy (ST) and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) consultant based in the UK – I found this page via Cara Anna’s guest blog on Alistair Campbell’s site – I long for a similar service to be set up in the UK. Perhaps HelpPRO could be extended geographically?


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