|INTERVIEWING TIP OF THE MONTH
# 134 April 2011
First Thoughts on Suicide
TISA Description of the Problem: By uncovering a client’s first thoughts on suicide, many windows into the soul may appear. Karen Orsulak, LCSW offers two concrete, and effective, questions that she asks adolescents when performing a suicide assessment.
Tip: The following two questions often open up a door to an animated exploration of what suicide means to an adolescent, and I ask them often:
“When was the first time you ever thought of killing yourself or wanting to die?”
“How old were you when you first started having these thoughts?”
I feel that clients who first had thoughts early on at young ages such as 7 and 8 may have increased risk.
TISA Follow-up: I’ve nothing to add to these two excellent questions, other than to endorse their use and to pass them on to our students when teaching clinical interviewing skills.
Tip provided by:
Karen Orsulak, LCSW
Teen Intensive Outpatient Program
TISA is a site dedicated to advancing the science and art of preventing suicide and teaching clinical interviewing