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Title: The Taboo of Client Suicide: Silenced Therapist Narratives
Contributor(s): Clark, Jane Laura (author); Wilson, Annmaree Caroline (supervisor); Kottler, Jeffrey (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 2009
Copyright Date: 2009
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: The suicidal death of a client is one of the most profound events a therapist can encounter. Whilst research into this experience has been steadily growing over the past ten years, to date, little is known about the ways in which the grief arising from such an event becomes disenfranchised or the impact that this has on bereavement outcome. This study provides some of the first empirical data to explore the experience of therapist disenfranchisement in relation to client suicide. In-depth interviews were conducted with ten therapists to gain insight into their narratives pertaining to the loss. An analysis of the data, using a combination of narrative-type narrative inquiry, component story analysis, and paradigmatic-type narrative inquiry, uncovered three core themes, each encapsulating an aspect of disenfranchised grief. The findings of this study highlight that client suicide is an inherently disenfranchising experience for therapists within their professional, social and personal arenas. The "taboo-ness" surrounding suicide at the broader societal level; the restrictive codes of ethical practice, organisational policies and supervisory frameworks that therapists must work within; and the lack of understanding within therapists' social and personal realms, all serve to compound the silencing of their stories in relation to their clients' deaths. In light of these findings, recommendations with regard to therapist training, supervision and support are offered, together with suggestions for future research endeavours. In doing so, it is hoped that the risk to therapists of experiencing disenfranchisement in relation to their client's suicide may be ameliorated.
Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Field of Research Codes: 111714 Mental Health
170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Rights Statement: Copyright 2009 - Jane Laura Clark
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
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