An integrative conceptual and organizational framework for treating suicidal behavior


The current article provides an integrative conceptual and organizational framework for addressing suicidal behavior in clinical practice with three identifiable goals. The first goal is to provide a clinically accessible summary of treatment and assessment tasks (i.e., the content of therapy and assessment) consistent with existing standards of care and supported by empirical findings but not dependent on psychotherapeutic orientation. The second goal is to summarize and discuss the uniformity and clinical implications of relevant process variables, as well as the complicating role of time and chronicity in assessment and treatment. The third goal is to emphasize the varied roles, tasks, demands, and limitations of psychotherapy with suicidal patients. In general, the current article provides a flexible, yet comprehensive and thorough, template for treatment planning, risk assessment, patient management, and ongoing monitoring that is applicable regardless of the psychotherapeutic model employed. The hope is to impose functional structure on what, at times, can be a chaotic and crisis- filled process in order to facilitate efficient and effective treatment.

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