Course Description: This course is based upon material published in the Journal of Mental Health Counseling and is available as an open access article.
This study sought to increase understanding of the relationship between suicide and self-injury (SI). Advanced professional counselors were asked to discuss their conceptualizations of the relationship and how SI impacts clinical assessment and intervention. Data were collected via online survey. Analysis was conducted by a research team using qualitative content analysis. Categories identified were (a) the relationship between suicide and SI, (b) the functions of SI, (c) debate about the potential for elevated risk, (d) whether or not suicide risk should be assessed differently with clients who self-injure, (e) how SI may impact treatment planning and goals, (f) how professional counselors intervene with clients who self-injure, and (g) how SI is identified. Self-injury (SI) is nonsuicidal, volitionally self-inflicted harm to the body that is not socially sanctioned (Klonsky, Muehlenkamp, Lewis, & Walsh, 2011); suicide attempts involve self-injurious behavior with the intent to die (Claes et ah, 2010). Suicide and SI are among the most anxiety-provoking clinical issues professional counselors face. They are fairly common, potentially dangerous, difficult to predict, and challenging to treat (Janis & Nock, 2008). Although our understanding of each has increased in recent years, the relationship between suicide and SI remains unclear (Claes et ah, 2010). There is, however, an established link between the two–the risk of suicide is heightened among those who self-injure (Brausch & Gutierrez, 2010; Toprak, Cetin, Guven, Can, & Demircan, 2011).
This course on the relationship between suicide and self-injury is designed for social workers, professional counselors, psychologists, nurses, and substance abuse counselors, who do clinical work. This course is appropriate for beginning, intermediate and advanced level practitioners who wish to develop their understanding of suicide and self-injury treatment. The course material includes a brief literature review. It may also be useful for licensed clinicians who require clinical continuing education courses for license renewal.
Authors: Whisenhunt, Chang, Brack, Orr, Adams, Paige
Learning Objectives: This course will provide the practitioner with detailed information regarding suicide and self-injury treatment. Specifically, a professional will:
Describe the differences between suicide and self-injury.
Identify the functions of self-injury and its associated risks.
Recognize treatment planning and goals for suicidal patients.
Citation: Whisenhunt, J. L., Chang, C. Y., Brack, G. L., Adams, L. G., Paige, (2014). Professional counselors’ conceptualizations of the relationship between suicide and self-injury. Journal of Mental Health Counseling.