As educators in the field of suicidology, we have often trained and supervised providers in the conduct of suicide risk assessments. In general, we have noted that while providers are becoming more knowledgeable about how to perform a suicide risk assessment, they continue to experience challenges in how to best communicate about suicide risk. Based on our experiences, we would like to provide you with some practical recommendations when completing clinical documentation and when consulting with colleagues.
Blog posts with the tag "Clinical Skills"
It’s Wednesday afternoon, and I’m sitting, cross-legged, on a meditation cushion in the dayroom at a Veteran’s hospital. There are 13 Veterans sitting around the room; some of them are outpatients and some of them are participants in a residential PTSD program. Some of them are sitting on cushions, but most of them are in chairs. Another psychologist and a few psychology interns are there, too. We are all sitting in silence. About seven minutes into the final period of practice in our mindfulness group, the thought that I knew was coming finally presents itself, front and center, in my mind.
While conducting workshops for decades around the world for many different types of individuals, both professionals and laypeople, the answer to the question I frequently pose to attendees—“Who here had a week recently devoid of problems?” leads consistently to an absence of raised hands. We all have problems—some small, and unfortunately at times, some being quite overwhelming. Based on this common sense consensus, we would all further agree that it is not abnormal or unusual to have problems.
This past year our research team published the results of a randomized clinical trial (RCT) testing brief Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (BCBT) as compared to treatment as usual (TAU) for the prevention of suicidal behavior among military personnel. BCBT is the first scientifically-supported intervention for preventing suicidal behavior in the military. Soldiers who received the 12-session BCBT were 60% less likely to make a suicide attempt during the 2-year follow-up as compared to Soldiers who received TAU. As the public’s awareness of BCBT grows, there has been considerable interest in understanding more about this treatment. Below I provide answers to some of the most common questions asked about BCBT.
While every provider may experience some initial discomfort with implementing an unfamiliar treatment, I am often surprised with how resistant many mental health providers are toward learning and implementing evidence-based treatments. An article on this topic by Scott Lilienfeld and colleagues demonstrates this resistance, reasons for it, and potential ways to work through it. I believe providers on all sides of this issue should read this article as a way to both consider another perspective and to clarify their own opinions.