• Working with suicide: An exploration of the tensions that may exist if counsellors’ beliefs and agency suicide policy conflict

      Jones, Elaine (University of Chester, 2015-10)
      This research explores the experiences of counsellors working with suicidal clients with a focus on how counsellors respond to, and are affected by, a suicide policy with which they have disagreements. A comprehensive review of the literature was conducted. Four counsellors who have tensions with their agency’s suicide policy were interviewed and their experiences explored. The data was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. The research concludes that counsellors who would otherwise feel confident in their work with suicidal clients feel anxious and concerned for the safety of their clients as a result of working within a policy that feels inadequate. The research also demonstrates that counsellors feel isolated when in this position and points to the need for counsellor organisations, such as the BACP, to provide a forum in which such issues can be addressed. The research has also resulted in the production of suggestions as to how policy could be improved and demonstrated that the implementation of these changes would alleviate the stress felt by counsellors and provide more support to clients experiencing a suicidal crisis. In addition the conclusions of the research suggest, controversially, that it is ethical for counsellors to breach policy if they believe that the policy does not have the best interest of the client at its heart, and if it does not protect the client in times of crisis.