The suicide of a loved one can have a profound and sometimes devastating impact on those left behind (often referred to as “suicide loss survivors”). Bereavement after suicide may entail high levels of guilt, regret, anger, and even trauma. Survivors sometimes also find their relationships with other people changed, as they struggle with social stigma and the altered family relationships that have been affected by the feelings of guilt, blame, and responsibility that suicide may engender. Survivors may also be at risk for elevated rates of complicated grief and future suicidality themselves. All of this makes surviving the suicide of a loved one a potentially life-transforming experience that requires a level of support that often goes beyond traditional grief counseling.

Yet one of the most difficult problems faced by survivors of suicide loss is finding mental health professionals whose education, training, and professional experience has equipped them to work effectively with survivors. Very few mental health training programs devote any time to educating clinicians about the challenging work of helping survivors cope with this tragic loss.

Program Description
Developed jointly by the American Association of Suicidology, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and John R. Jordan, PhD, one of the world’s leading experts in this area, the Suicide Bereavement Clinician Training Program is a one-day workshop that provides a focused overview of the impact of suicide on survivors, and the clinical and support responses that are needed.

This training is intended for clinical professionals seeking to bolster their knowledge and understanding of — and empathic regard for — people bereaved by suicide. Clinical professions for which 6.5 hours of CE credits are available if desired (at fee) include: physicians/psychiatric nurses, psychologists, certified counselors, social workers, and California-licensed marriage and family therapists. While designed for clinical professionals, the training is also open to clergy, pastoral counselors, school personnel, and interested others. The workshop will include didactic and video presentations, group discussion, and case examples. Topics to be covered include:

  • The psychological impact of suicide on survivors and common themes in the bereavement of survivors
  • The impact of suicide on family functioning
  • What research with survivors tells us is needed
  • The tasks of loss integration and recovery for survivors
  • Principles of longer term clinical work with survivors
  • Examples of specific clinical techniques for use in grief therapy with survivors

Upcoming Trainings

Host a Training
Individuals and Organizations can bring the Suicide Bereavement Clinician Training Program to your communities. Contact us for more information.