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Psychodynamic approaches to suicide and self-harm

  • Jessica Yakeley and William Burbridge-James
Summary

Rates of suicide and self-harm are rising in many countries, and it is therapeutically important to explore the personal stories and relationships that underlie this behaviour. In this article psychoanalytic and psychodynamic principles and concepts in relation to violence towards the self are introduced and the various unconscious meanings of suicide and self-harm are explored within a relational context and attachment framework. We describe how a psychodynamic approach may enhance the risk assessment and treatment of patients presenting with self-harm and suicidality, particularly examining the role of transference and countertransference within the therapeutic relationship.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

  1. Understand historical and contemporary psychoanalytic theories and concepts regarding the aetiology of suicide and self-harm
  2. Understand the different meanings and expressions of acts of suicide and self-harm
  3. Understand the use of countertransference in the risk assessment and management of self-harm and suicide attempts

DECLARATION OF INTEREST

None.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Correspondence Dr Jessica Yakeley, Portman Clinic, 8 Fitzjohns Avenue, London NW3 5NA, UK. Email: jyakeley@tavi-port.nhs.uk
Footnotes
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In the next issue of Advances, Jessica Yakeley will explore psychodynamic approaches to violence.

Footnotes
References
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BJPsych Advances
  • ISSN: 2056-4678
  • EISSN: 2056-4686
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-advances
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Psychodynamic approaches to suicide and self-harm

  • Jessica Yakeley and William Burbridge-James
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