Suicide is the most feared outcome in psychotherapy and signals a calamitous, irrevocable failure of treatment. When a life hangs in the balance, treatment takes on an urgency that stresses patient and therapist alike. The outpatient therapist is in a particularly precarious position. Compared to his inpatient colleagues, he works in relative isolation. He seldom has the clinical and emotional support of a treatment team or the reassurance of round-the-clock patient observation. The time he spends with his patient represents a tiny fraction of the patient’s day-to-day life. The rest of the time the patient is left to his own devices, unsupervised and unprotected, alone with his thoughts and feelings.
KeywordsSuicidal Behavior Therapeutic Relationship Suicidal Patient Outpatient Therapy Empathic Understanding
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