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Suicide Assessment & Intervention

6 CE Credit Hours - Online Course - $59.00

Developed by Ofer Zur, Ph.D.

This course fulfills the BOP-CA suicide requirement for psychologists.

Course materials: text/webpage Articles    audio Audios

Transcripts are available for ALL MP3s in pdf format.

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General Course Description

On September 1, 2017, California Governor, Jerry Brown signed the new Suicide Prevention AB 89 law, requiring every psychologist to demonstrate training in suicide prevention by the 2020 renewal cycle. There are a number of different ways that this mandate requirement can be met, the simplest of which is the completion of this 6 CEU course on Suicide Risk Assessment and Intervention.

This intermediate level course consists of 10 articles and 5 podcasts (transcripts provided), including suicide statistics from the Centers for Disease Control. It explains both standard and the latest assessment instruments for assessing suicide risk. It exposes the flaws in the too-often used no-suicide contract, explaining why such contracts serve more to protect the therapist than the client and in doing so may actually make some suicides more likely. In addition to presenting effective risk-management techniques that also enhance good therapy, the course covers suicide from both the perspective of the clinician and client, covering such issues as what a suicidal state of mind feels like, and how the fear, as well as actual client suicides, affect therapists. A section of the course presents the humane, unique and non-pathological approach to suicidality by David Webb, the first person to attempt suicide and eventually earn a Ph.D. in the study of suicide. Additional resources and references are provided for further study, but they are not part of the course.

Educational Objectives

This course will teach the participant to:

1.    Describe the incidence of suicides in the United States.

2.    Identify suicide risk assessment instruments.

3.    Explain how to establish a therapeutic relationship with suicidal clients.

4.    Discuss effective legal risk management practices.

5.    Describe suicide from the perspective of potential suicidal clients.

6.    Identify the risk factors for suicide.

7.    Discuss the risk, prevention and treatment of suicide among LGBT adolescents.


Harris, K. M., Syu, J. J., Lello, O. D., Chew, Y. L. E., Willcox, C. H., & Ho R. H. M. (2015). The ABC’s of suicide risk assessment: Applying a tripartite approach to individual evaluations. PLoS ONE 10(6), e0127442. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0127442

DeBeer, B. B., Kittel J. A., Cook, A., Davidson, D., Kimbrel, N. A., Meyer, E. C., et al. (2016) Predicting suicide risk in trauma exposed veterans: The role of health promoting behaviors. PLoS ONE, 11(12), e0167464. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0167464

Donker, T., Calear, A., Grant, J. B., Van Spijker, B., Fenton, K., Hehir, K. K., ... & Christensen, H. (2013). Suicide prevention in schizophrenia spectrum disorders and psychosis: a systematic review. BMC psychology, 1(1), 6. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1186/2050-7283-1-6

Course Syllabus

Incidence of suicide

Assessing Suicide Risk

  • CAGE
  • Dr. David Jobes' Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS)
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Major life or situation changes
  • Co-morbid disorders
  • Other factors

Suicide among LGBT youth

Suicide prevention

Ethical and legal considerations for therapists

  • Why no-suicide contracts are not a protection against sanctions
  • Duty to warn
  • Contacting family after a suicide
  • Autopsy subpoenas

Effects of suicide upon therapists

  • Legal
  • Emotional
  • Professional

Connecting with suicidal clients

  • How therapists' fears may get in the way
  • The importance of genuine exploration of suicidal thinking

Suicide as a valid option

  • Assisted suicide
  • Recognition of client's endless psychological or physical suffering
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