An exploration into the impact on the trainee therapist of a client's death by suicide

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McCarthy, Marie
Issue Date
Higher Diploma in Arts in Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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A client's suicide has a deep emotional and physical effect on the therapist. Feelings that frequently surface for the therapist can include guilt over one's failure to identify the warning signs and embarrassment that one has failed. There may also be fears of one's competence or responsibility and fear of being blamed by the client's loved ones and colleagues. All of these issues can result in isolating therapists from the actual sources of peer support that are essential in order to resolve the trauma (Fox & Cooper 1998). The purpose of this research was to examine the effects that could be on the trainee therapist when a patient dies by suicide. The research reviewed what the impact was upon the trainee therapist who works with clients that are chronically suicidal. The research also focused on two areas that would help the trainee therapist minimise this impact which are training and support. Recommendations have also been made to help provide trainee therapists with coping strategies when working with these potentially overwhelming case situations.