3.50 CE Credits Available
Assessment and Intervention with Suicidal Clients Volume 1
by John Sommers-Flanagan
The suicidal client is perhaps the single greatest clinical and ethical challenge for even the most seasoned mental health professional. In this, the first of a compelling three-volume series, John Sommers-Flanagan artfully teaches through live clinical demonstration how to effectively and collaboratively assess and intervene when sitting face-to-face with suicidal clients. In this video he works with a divorced mother suffering from depression, and a 22-year-old college student and veteran of the Iraq war who is struggling with family issues and alcohol use.
In Volume 1 of this comprehensive and highly acclaimed series, you’ll see Dr. Sommers-Flanagan demonstrate his collaborative and research-based approach in multiple sessions with each of the following clients:
  • Michelle, a recently divorced mother of a young daughter, who seeks relief from the punishing symptoms of depression, inertia and self-doubt.
  • Cory, a previously proud and optimistic 22-year-old college student and citizen of the Lakota-Sioux nation, who upon returning from the Iraq war finds his family and his tribe in disarray. Significant alcohol use and access to guns compounds his suicide risk.
Through compassionate and targeted interviewing, Sommers-Flanagan will teach you how to recognize and address the eight dimensions of suicidality. In the process, your clients will begin to gain clarity around their suicidality and you will develop a clearer clinical picture that will help you to lay the groundwork for intervention. Descriptive and informative pre and post-demonstration discussions between Sommers-Flanagan and Victor Yalom will teach you how to seamlessly integrate the research-based and clinically-proven “seven fundamental clinical tasks” into your own assessment and early intervention planning. By the conclusion of this training video you will be far better-equipped to attend to the clinical challenges of the suicidal client.
In Depth
CE Test
Suicide is so much more than a simple cry for help. Psychologist and counselor-educator John Sommers-Flanagan believes that suicidal ideation and behavior reflect the painful convergence of social isolation and deep emotional distress. Urging you not to be guided by clinical myths or outdated lore in our assessment and treatment of suicidal clients, he clearly and systematically teaches you how to intervene collaboratively and empathetically rather than from a position of authority and anxiety. Rich clinical demonstrations with suicidal clients will guide you in your practice to explore and mitigate risk factors by uncovering protective, life-affirming, and hope-centered resources.

In the course of demonstrating these powerful strategies, Dr. Sommers-Flanagan shows you how to effectively use the Mood Rating Scale and mindfulness meditation in your own clinical work with suicidal clients. By watching him and then practicing these and other strategies, you will begin focusing on meaningful life events and potential sources of pleasure as counterpoint to your clients’ suicidal ideation.

You will also gain a clear working knowledge of the seven dimensions of suicidality which include unbearable distress or “psyche-ache,” agitation, problem-solving impairment, social isolation/alienation, hopelessness; intent, desensitization, and lethal means. Additionally, you will begin mastery of the eight clinical tasks for working with suicidal clients which include connecting and collaborating, monitoring and managing our reactions, applying psychoeducation, collaborating on and constructing treatment and safety plans, consulting with other professionals, and documenting. Finally, Dr. Sommers-Flanagan will skillfully guide you in the delicate process of integrating your client’s unique cultural beliefs, practices and worldviews into your shared assessment, treatment and safety planning.  

By watching this interview, you will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate the assessment and treatment skills necessary to work compassionately and collaboratively with suicidal clients
  2. Apply the the seven clinical tasks and eight dimensions of suicidality in your clinical work with suicidal clients
  3. Incorporate the suicidal client’s culture-bound beliefs and behaviors into your clinical work with them

Length of video: 3:34:26

English subtitles available

Group ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-553-X

Group ISBN-13 #: 978-1-60124-553-3

John Sommers-Flanagan, PhD, is a professor of counselor education at the University of Montana. He is also a clinical psychologist and mental health consultant with Trapper Creek Job Corps. He served as executive director of Families First Parenting Programs from 1995 to 2003 and was previously co-host of a radio talk-show on Montana Public Radio titled, “What is it with Men?”

Primarily specializing in working with children, parents, and families, John is author or coauthor of over 50 professional publications and nine books. Some of his latest books, co-written with his wife Rita, include How to Listen so Parents will Talk and Talk so Parents will Listen (John Wiley & Sons, 2011) and Counseling and Psychotherapy Theories in Context and Practice (2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, 2012), Clinical Interviewing (5th ed., Wiley, 2014), and Tough Kids, Cool Counseling (2nd ed., ACA, 2007). In his wild and precious spare time, John loves to run (slowly), dance (poorly), laugh (loudly) and produce home-made family music videos.

CE credits: 3.5

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the core skills in working collaboratively with suicidal clients
  • Apply the the seven clinical tasks in your clinical work with suicidal clients
  • Plan treatment with suicidal client that incorporate culture-bound beliefs

Bibliography available upon request

This course is offered for ASWB ACE credit for social workers. See complete list of CE approvals here

© 2018

Course Reviewed January 2024

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