Therapeutic risk management of the suicidal patient: Safety planning.
Matarazzo, B.B., Homaifar, B.Y., Wortzel, H.S.
This column is the fourth in a series describing a model for therapeutic risk management of the suicidal patient. Previous columns presented an overview of the therapeutic risk management model, provided recommendations for how to augment risk assessment using structured assessments, and discussed the importance of risk stratification in terms of both severity and temporality. This final column in the series discusses the safety planning intervention as a critical component of therapeutic risk management of suicide risk. We first present concerns related to the relatively common practice of using no-suicide contracts to manage risk. We then present the safety planning intervention as an alternative approach and provide recommendations for how to use this innovative strategy to therapeutically mitigate risk in the suicidal patient.