Relating to Self-Harm and Suicide: Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Practice, Theory and Prevention, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Relating to Self-Harm and Suicide

Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Practice, Theory and Prevention, 1st Edition

Edited by Stephen Briggs, Alessandra Lemma, William Crouch


272 pages

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Alessandra Lemma - Winner of the Levy-Goldfarb Award for Child Psychoanalysis!

Relating to Self-Harm and Suicide presents original studies and research from contemporary psychoanalysts, therapists and academics focusing on the psychoanalytic understanding of suicide and self-harm, and how this can be applied to clinical work and policy.

This powerful critique of current thinking suggests that suicide and self-harm must be understood as having meaning within interpersonal and intrapsychic relationships, offering a new and more hopeful dimension for prevention and recovery. Divided into three sections, the book includes:

  • a theoretical overview
  • examples of psychoanalytic practice with self-harming and suicidal patients
  • applications of psychoanalytic thinking to suicide and self-harm prevention.

Relating to Self-Harm and Suicide will be helpful to psychoanalytic therapists, analysts and mental health professionals wanting to integrate psychoanalytic ideas into their work with self-harmers and the suicidal. This text will also be of use to academics and professionals involved in suicidal prevention.


"This book offers a complex and in-depth approach to coping with suicidal patients by understanding them better, helping them with effective psychoanalytical treatment and applying psychoanalytical ideas to identify protective factors in suicide prevention." – Nicholas Temple, From the Preface

Table of Contents

Fonagy, Foreword. Temple, Preface. Briggs, Crouch, Lemma, Introduction. Part I: Developments in Theory. Hale, Psychoanalysis and Suicide: Process and Typology. Campbell, The Father Transference During a Pre-suicide State. Maltsberger, Self-break Up and the Descent into Suicide. Bell, Who is Killing What or Whom? Some Notes on the Internal Phenomenology of Suicide. Anderson, A Psychoanalytical Approach to Suicide in Adolescents. Ladame, Treatment Priorities After Adolescent Suicide Attempts. Orbach, Mental Pain, Pain Producing Constructs, the Suicidal Body, and Suicide. Part II: Practice. Goldblatt, Hostility and Suicide: The Experience of Aggression From Within and Without. Magagna, Attacks on Life: Suicidality and Self-Harm in Young People. Gerisch, Suicidality and Women: Obsession and the Use of the Body. Minne, Violence to Body and Mind: Infanticide as Suicide. Etzersdorfer, Suicidal Thoughts During an Analysis. Part III: Applications in Practice, Prevention and Postvention. Matakas, Rohrbach, On Suicide Prevention in Hospitals; Empirical Observations and Psychodynamic Thinking. Heyno, On Being Affected Without Being Infected: Counselling Students with Suicidal Thoughts. Lindner, Altenhöfer, Fiedler, Götze, Suicidality in Later Life. Turp, Skin Toughening and Skin Porosity: Addressing the Issue of Self-Harm by Omission. Seager, Psychological Safety: A Missing Concept in Suicide Risk Prevention. Briggs, Postvention: The Impact of Suicide and Suicidal Behaviour on Family Members, Professionals and Organisations.

About the Editors

Stephen Briggs is Professor and Director of the Centre for Social Work Research, in the University of East London and Vice Dean in the Adolescent Department of the Tavistock Clinic. He has worked as a clinician, teacher and researcher in the Tavistock’s Adolescent Department since 1991 and has written widely on infancy, adolescence and suicide.

Alessandra Lemma is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist working in the Adolescent Department of Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust where she is also the Head of Psychology. She teaches widely and has a particular interest in trauma and body image disturbances. She trained as a psychoanalyst and is Member of the British Psychoanalytic Society.

William Crouch is a Clinical Psychologist in the Adolescent Department, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, with a training post in psychoanalytic psychotherapy. He has a worked with young people in community mental health teams and inpatient units; he has set up a mental health service in an inner city youth offending team.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychopathology / Compulsive Behavior
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychotherapy / General
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health