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Assessment & Treatment of Suicidal Behaviour

As one of the top ten causes of death worldwide, suicide is a major public health problem. Managing patients who engage in suicidal and non suicidal self -injurious behaviours, is highly stressful for most clinicians. Research on dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) indicates that it is an effective treatment for suicidal behaviour across a range of clinical populations. This workshop teaches the fundamentals of assessing and managing suicidality informed largely by DBT. Participants will learn how to conceptualize suicidal behaviour, how to use specific DBT commitment strategies to motivate patients to eliminate self-harm (suicidal and non suicidal self injurious behaviour), strategies for strengthening the therapeutic relationship and instilling hope, how to detect risk, a protocol to guide the assessment of suicide risk, how to use DBT strategies to manage and reduce future crises, and to help patients engage in effective coping strategies. Participants will learn how to conduct a suicide risk history, and how to monitor ongoing suicide risk. The training will also focus on helping clinicians manage their own distress and how to support patients in building a life worth living.

Participants will have the opportunity to practice assessment and treatment strategies in the workshop. To illustrate teaching points, the instructor will use lecture, role-plays, video-tapes, and experiential exercises as well as providing opportunities for discussion. Participants should come prepared to discuss cases and engage in role-plays.

Learning Objectives:

  • Conceptualize suicidal and non suicidal self-injurious behaviour
  • General principles of managing patients suicidal and self-injurious behaviour
  • Strategies to strengthen the therapeutic relationship
  • Detect and assess suicide risk
  • Apply problem-solving strategies to suicidal and self injurious behaviours
  • Learn specific DBTprotocols for preventing and managing suicidal crises
  • Monitor professional limits and consider ethical issues
  • Document suicide risk assessment and treatment plan

Registration Form

About the Instructor:
Dr. Kenneth Kwan, Ph.D., RMFT, C.Psych. is the Founder and Executive Director/Chief Psychologist of Oshawa Psychological & Counselling Services, Woodbine Psychological & Counselling Services, and Oshawa Psychotherapy Training Institute. He is a registered psychologist in clinical and counselling psychology, a registered marriage and family therapist, an approved supervisor with the American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy (AAMFT), and a registered sex therapist and an approved supervisor with the Board of Examiners in Sex Therapy & Counselling in Ontario (BESTCO). He has about 30 years of clinical practice experience working with children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families.

Dr. Kwan has also provided extensive clinical training within the academic arena both as a lecturer and clinical supervisor.  Dr. Kwan has been a sessional lecturer, an associate graduate faculty member and clinical supervisor with both the Counselling Psychology, and School and Clinical Child Psychology programs at OISE, University of Toronto, and adjunct professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT). He was an adjunct professor with the Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto.

Dr. Kwan has taught assessment & intervention of suicidal behaviours incorporating evidence-based therapeutic intervention strategies, information from current literature in Suicidology; and relevant ethical considerations as part of a graduate level course as well as in-service training to various organizations and mental health professionals.

Friday November 8, 2019 from 2:00 pm – 9:00 pm and Saturday November 9, 2019 from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm


Assessment & Treatment of Suicidal Behaviour
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