Globally, suicide is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths every year. It is a profoundly
disturbing event for all affected, including the psychotherapist. In this paper, the author seeks to
explore the consequences of such an event on the psychotherapist. The psychotherapists grief can
be complex. They are not mourning a friend or family member, however, the psychotherapeutic
relationship can foster deep connections between the client and the psychotherapist. Studies have
shown that the psychotherapist may experience feelings of grief, anger and guilt. They react
initially, in much the same was as family and friends of the deceased. However, they may
simultaneously experience a professional reaction to a clients completed suicide which may result
in feelings of self doubt and inadequacy. In addition, their grief may be disenfranchised which can
further complicate the healing process. Following a completed client suicide, the psychotherapists
current and future therapeutic relationships may be affected. A psychotherapist may be fearful of
experiencing a second client suicide and therefore, adjust their practice accordingly.
Countertransference issues may arise, and have the potential to impact considerably, the efficacy of
the psychotherapeutic relationship. Most concerning however, is the lack of literature and studies
describing any indications that the psychotherapist is ready to resume their practice with clients.
Similarly, the literature also highlights a lack of concrete coping mechanisms for the
psychotherapist in the wake of a completed client suicide. While some coping mechanisms have
been identified, and certainly play a role in sustaining the psychotherapist, it appears that further
research in this area may be needed.