Year: 2002 Source: Counselling Psychology Review, v.17, no.3, (August 2002), p.28-35 SIEC No: 20070675

The average professional psychologist in their career has a greater than 20 per cent chance of losing their patient to suicide (Bersoff, 1999). However, while training courses and books cover the risk of suicide, very little has been written on a counselling psychologists reactions and coping styles when it actually happens. This paper describes my own experience and reactions following a clients suicide whilst I was a trainee counselling psychologist and it aims to examine the literature on the effect of a clients suicide on the therapist, the effect on the trainee and what has been suggested to counteract these effects. Recommendations are made for creation of support mechanisms and changes in counselling psychology training programmes so that trainees are better prepared for and supported in coping with the impact of a clients suicide.