Talking Through the Silence: How do Clinical Psychologists who Have Experienced Suicide Bereavement ‘Make Sense’ of Suicide?

Farah Dauhoo, Jacqui Gratton, Jeanette Fuller, Lizette Nolte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

There is a lack of research concerning therapists’ emotional responses to the suicide of clients and/or friends and family and yet, professionally, therapists commonly manage suicide risk of their clients and need to abide by relevant policies. Using a purposive sampling technique, twelve female clinical psychologists working in the UK were recruited via social media platforms. A qualitative method was adopted to offer an in-depth understanding into the lived experiences of losing a loved one and/or client to suicide. The semi-structured interviews took place via video-call or via telephone for up to one hour. Three themes were identified as follows: how talk is experienced as a way of making sense of suicide; the messiness of being human; and an experience that helps psychologists face suicide. This study brings to light the dilemmas experienced by clinical psychologists who are both clinicians and survivors of suicide. The findings highlight the lack of conversation relating to bereavement by suicide within mental health services. This study offers insight into how clinical psychologists experience suicide bereavement, and discusses the clinical and UK policy implications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalIllness, Crisis & Loss
Early online date29 Jul 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Jul 2022

Keywords

  • bereavement
  • psychologist
  • suicide
  • therapist

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