University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-79
JournalCounselling and Psychotherapy Research
Early online date1 Nov 2012
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2014


Scope of review: The paper reports a meta-synthesis of 13 qualitative studies of counselling and psychotherapy with people at risk of suicide. Publication time span: The studies considered were reported between 1997 and 2006. Publication origin: Seven studies were conducted in the UK, four in the USA, one in Canada, and one in Sweden. Findings: Themes in clients' and therapists' accounts of the process of counselling or psychotherapy were therapist qualities; therapy components; theoretical framework; and therapy techniques. Themes in their accounts of the effectiveness of counselling and psychotherapy were decrease in self-destructive behaviour, and quality of life. Themes in clients' views of barriers to effective counselling or psychotherapy were therapist characteristics; therapy components; secrecy; and transferring to the real-life situation. Secrecy was also identified as a barrier by therapists, as were responsibilities of the profession; training; and the nature of suicide and self-harm. Facilitators of successful counselling and psychotherapy as identified by clients were responsibility; support; and teaching therapy skills to family members, the latter also being identified by therapists

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