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UPDATED: The Call of Darkness: Managing Suicidality in Clinical Practice

alt Course:  The Call of Darkness: Managing Suicidality in Clinical Practice

alt Instructor: Lawrence E. Hedges, Ph.D., Psy.D., ABPP

alt Approved for 6 Hours of CE Credit

alt Fulfills requirements for Psychologists, MFTs, LCSWs

alt High Resolution Video

Click for Faculty Information


The White House has declared suicide to be a national and international epidemic and has mandated suicide prevention training for educational and health workers nationwide. This class is in response to that mandate.

This intermediate to advanced course for mental health professionals begins with the awareness that our ability to predict suicide is little better than chance and that at present there are no consistently reliable empirically validated treatment techniques to prevent suicide. However, Dr. Hedges will demonstrate that in the past three decades much has been learned about the dynamics of suicide and many promising treatment approaches have been advanced that are slowly yielding clinical as well as empirical results.

Dr. Hedges will present the groundbreaking work on suicidality of Freud, Jung, Menninger and Shneidman as well as the more recent work of Linehan, Kernberg, Joiner and the attachment theorists along with the features in common that these treatment approaches seem to share. He will put forth a Relational Listening approach regarding the origins of suicidality in a relational/developmental context and will consider their implications for treating, and managing suicidality.

The tendencies towards blame and self-blame on the part of survivors raise issues of professional responsibility: accurate assessment, thorough documentation, appropriate standards of care, and liability management—all of which will be covered in this course.

Course Objectives

  • Define what is meant by “psychache”.
  • Describe Joiner’s interpersonal approach to understanding and managing suicide.
  • State why reliable suicide research has not been possible.
  • Explain the difference between “mourning” and “melancholia”.
  • Explain how a “split in the ego” can lead to suicidality.
  • State how the attachment-abandonment dynamic can lead to instrumental suicidality.
  • State how the connection-withdrawal dynamic can lead to lethal suicidality.
  • Explain what can be learned in a “suicide autopsy”.
  • List four key elements in documenting suicidality that limit your liability.
  • Define what is meant by “telescoped memory”.
  • Discuss why so many creative and famous people suicide at the peak of their careers.
  • Explain why suicide is thought to be always dyadic despite the appearance of isolation and loneliness.
  • Define “suicidal career”
  • State the difference between “a cry for help” and “a cry of pain”.

Registration Information

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CE Approval Information

This course fulfills 6 hours of Continuing Education credit for licensed mental health professionals in most states.

  • The Steve Frankel Group, LLC is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for Psychologists. The Steve Frankel Group, LLC maintains responsibility for this program and its content.  This course meets the qualifications of the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) for 6 hours of CE credit for Psychologists, MFTs, LCSWs, and LPCCs. Most states accept SFG's courses for CE credits for Master level clinicians. If you're unsure about your state, please contact your state's licensing board have jurisdiction over your licensing requirements.