Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 73–85 | Cite as

The CAMS Approach to Working with Suicidal Patients

Abstract

The Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS) is a novel clinical protocol designed to quickly identify and effectively engage suicidal outpatients in their own clinical care. The CAMS approach emphasizes a thorough and collaborative assessment of the patient's suicidality that then leads to problem-solving treatment planning that is coauthored by the clinician and the patient. This approach is specifically designed to launch a strong therapeutic alliance creating an effective treatment trajectory. The CAMS approach is designed to modify and change clinician behaviors in terms of how they initially identify, engage, conceptualize, assess, treatment plan, and manage suicidal outpatients. Critically, however, CAMS does not usurp clinical judgment or dictate treatment modality. Preliminary research has shown that CAMS leads to faster resolution of suicidality and may decrease nonmental health medical utilization. Given the challenges of clinical work with suicidality, increased concerns about malpractice liability, and the decreased use of inpatient hospitalization, CAMS provides a potentially important new approach to working with suicidal individuals on an outpatient basis.

suicidality assessment treatment liability 

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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe Catholic University of AmericaWashington, DC

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