September is Suicide Prevention Month

September is Suicide Prevention Month

When my clients are fragile and express not wanting to live, I most often use a Brainspotting technique I call “Why I Want to Live.” I am sharing this with all of you to try with your clients who say they no longer want to live.

One of the clients at our Trauma Center came in fully prepared to end her life after the session if she didn’t feel any better. Her desperate clinician asked her client to tell her all about why she wanted to live. She found a spot in the client’s visual gaze that correlated with the positive feelings and somatic sensations of the part of her that wanted to live.

After 40 more minutes of processing why she wanted to live on her visual spot, she shared with her therapist that she had a plastic bag in her purse filled with pills to end her life. She gave her therapist the bag of medication and said she no longer wanted to die. She adopted a small dog and is living a full life today. I urge you to try the technique below with your clients who are expressing suicidal feelings.

Of course, as clinicians, we have to assess for suicidality, including if the client has a specific plan and a means for carrying it out. Then we come up with a harm reduction plan and use the preventative technique above. Sometimes, if the client is seriously going to attempt suicide, it means we have to 5150 them.

I encourage you to give Brainspotting a try, whether it's for you or your clients.

Lisa Larson, LMFT is the founder of Pacific Counseling & Trauma Center

Courtesy photo