Suicidal Threats: Reading Between the Lines of O. J. Simpson’s Suicide Note (In: Suicide and Law Enforcement, edited by D C Sheehan & J I Warren)

With new understanding of the mind’s potential, it is possible now to examine forensic documents such as ransom notes or suicide letters for unconscious communication to determine true motivation & intent. For example, O. J. Simpson’s alleged suicide letter offers a sterling opportunity to apply this new appreciation of the human mind to determine his […]

Psychoanalysis and Suicide: Process and Typology(IN: Relating to Self-Harm and Suicide. Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Practice, Theory and Prevention, ed. by S Briggs, A Lemma and W Crouch)


Some Forms of Indirect Self-Destruction and Their Psychopathology

In this presentation, Achte discussed various forms of indirect self-destructive behaviours, such as excessive eating by individuals & pollution & excessive population growth on a wider, global scale. The motivation for these behaviours were discussed – some times they approximate suicidal imupulses & other times, defensive purposes. The presentation focussed on a broad interpretation of […]

Fatal Attachments: the Instigation to Suicide

The author’s belief is that instigators are responsible in a significant number of suicides. She hypothesizes that early trauma associated with death or abandonment can lead a person to become an instigator. Research, case studies, & examples from history & literature are used to examine the role of the instigator in suicide in diverse populations […]

Suicide: Some Transcultural Psychiatric Aspects

This article examines the manner in which social structural & cultural variables will tend to cause one or another unconscious factor to be dominant or to determine differences in rates & form of suicide between groups or within groups. Specifically, it is suggested that it is the complex interrelationship between child-rearing patterns, adult role expectations, […]

Can Suicide be a Good Death?

The issue of whether suicide can be a good death was separated into 2 different questions: 1) can suicide be an appropriate death, & 2) can suicide be a rational death? Several definitions of an appropriate death were proposed & suicide was seen as potentially appropriate. Similarly, several criteria for rationality were proposed & suicide […]

The Anthropology of Adolescent Risk-Taking Behaviours


Spiritual Perspectives on Suicidal Impulses in Young Adults (IN: Spirituality and Psychological Health, ed. by R H Cox, B Ervin-Cox and L Hoffman)

Exercises for Conquering Critical Inner Voices

From Schizophrenia to Pseudostupidity: the Wish not to Know

This paper seeks to show the impact of reconceptualization of a clinical case & the consequent change in therapeutic practice. It explores the shift in conceptualization from “schizophrenia” to “pseudostupidity” using Freud’s idea of the “wish not to know,” in the case of a female suffering from delusional thinking. Her history of suicidal ideation & […]

Why do Societies Need Suicides?

Published in “Suicide Risk & Protective Factors in the New Millennium,” ed. by O T Grad

A Suicidal Emergency

This article discusses the case of Anne, a woman with severe depression & suicidal ideation. The course of therapy is described in detail. (3 refs.)

Theory, Research, and Practice of Cognitive Therapy (IN: Cognitive Therapy of Suicidal Behavior: a Manual for Treatment, by A Freeman & M A Reinecke)

This chapter discusses cognitive therapy as a short-term, active, directive, collaborative, psychoeducational & dynamic model of psychotherapy suited for the treatment of the hopelessness & suicidality often related to depression. The basic theory underlying the model & the research supporting the model is described. Various other theoretical perspectives of suicide are discussed & reconceptualized within […]

Purposive Accidents as an Expression of Self-Destructive Tendencies

Purposive accidents are described and examples given. These accidents are ones in which the body is hurt in seemingly fortuitous accidents but closer examination reveals they are unconscious wishes of the victim. Freud suggests that they are indirect attempts at suicide. One example is of a man who set up a shotgun trap to catch […]

Orientations Toward Death (IN: The Psychology of Suicide: a Clinician’s Guide to Evaluation and Treatment, edited by E S Shneidman, N L Farberow & R E Litman)

In the first part of this chapter, Shneidman attempts to create a psychologically oriented classification of death phenomena. 3 false notions about death & suicide are discussed. 3 categories relating to the role of the individual in their own death are proposed: intentioned death, subintentioned death & unintentioned death. Commentary by Weisman, Menninger, & Litman […]

Psychotherapy for Suicidal Clients (IN: Treatment of Suicidal People, ed. by A. A. Leenaars)

Lester states that there are various issues that psychotherapists who treat suicidal clients need to consider. 2 of these issues are: 1) whether all of the systems of psychotherapy may be used safely with suicidal clients; & 2) is the therapeutic issue the client’s suicidal preoccupation or the problems underlying it. Lester reviews various types […]

Subintentioned Life-Threatening Behavior in the Elderly: the Story of Myra (IN: Now I lay me Down: Suicide in the Elderly, edited by D Lester & M Tallmer)

This chapter notes that when a person has an unconscious wish to die, it sometimes manifests itself indirectly; for example, being careless with one’s life or provoking behavior that causes someone to have homicidal feelings toward you. Heart attacks may also fall into this category. This chapter presents the case of Myra, whose ability to […]

Unconscious Factors (IN: Suicidology: Essays in Honor of Edwin S. Shneidman, edited by A A Leenaars)

This chapter looks at both the conscious and unconscious aspects of suicide. On the conscious side, the author notes suicide is a conscious act of self-induced annihilation. On the other hand, the driving force is an unconscious process. The author then goes on to look at the unconscious aspect since as he claims it is […]

Summary of Results – the Firestone Voice Scale for Self-Destructive Behavior: Investigating the Scale’s Validity and Reliability

This study evaluates the reliability of the Firestone Voice Scale for Self-Destructive Behavior (FVSSDB), which is based on the concept that a suicidal person has a destructive “voice” or an integrated system of negative thoughts & attitudes. The author concludes the scale is an effective assessment instrument which provides insight into the specific destructive voices […]

Application of a Theoretical Model to the Development of a new Instrument for Assessing Self-Destructive Potential: the Firestone Voice Scale for Self-Destructive Behavior

This study evaluates the reliability of the Firestone Voice for Self-Destructive Behavior (FVSSDB), which is based on the concept that a suicidal person has a destructive “voice” or an integrated system of negative thoughts & attitudes. The scale & 9 other tests were administered to 507 subjects currently in psychotherapy. The author found the results […]

An Empirical Investigation of the Latent Content of Suicide Notes

This proceeding describes a study that analyses the presence of unconscious psychodynamic forces in the latent content of genuine & simulated suicide notes. Using the Foulkes’ Scoring System for Latent Content (1978), results indicate that evidence of these psychodynamic forces was found more often in genuine notes. Several common psychodynamic distortions are included. (5 refs) […]

The Suicide Syndrome: Origins, Manifestations, and Alleviation of Human Self-Destructiveness (RC 569 G47 1985)

The “suicide syndrome” is a developmental approach to suicide, which starts in infancy and results in the expression of three adult suicidal types: the antipathic, synpathic and apathic suicidal personalities. Different motivations and crises are defined for each type and methodologies for treating them are discussed.

Vulnerability to Suicide (IN: Suicide Risk the Formulation of Clinical Judgment, ed. by J T Maltsberger)

The author presents several case histories to illustrate vulnerability to suicide primarily from a developmental, psychoanalytical perspective. Maltsberger examines the reasons why self-regulatory structures fail to develop in some individuals. In the absence of these defences, the individual turns to sustaining resources–other people, pets, religion, reliance on work–& if these resources are lost, a suicidal […]