Cognition and Suicide: Theory, Research, and Therapy
For individuals in the U.S. & U.S. territories
Cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) leads the field of psychotherapy in the evidence-based study and treatment of many psychological disorders. However, CBT has been less prominently applied to the study and prevention of suicidal behaviors. This volume is a compilation of theory, research, and intervention practices focused on cognition and suicide. It brings together for the first time many of the world's leading authorities, who seek to answer such questions as, "How is the thinking of suicidal individuals different from nonsuicidal individuals?" "What cognitive vulnerabilities place an individual at risk for developing suicidal ideation and behavior when stressed?" "How does what we know of the thinking of suicidal people translate into cognitive-behavioral treatment strategies?"
Each contributor discusses a particular theoretical and/or research framework, often with specific guidelines for clinical intervention tailored to specific cognitive vulnerabilities exhibited by suicidal patients. All of the major CBT theoretical systems are represented, including Aaron Beck's Cognitive Therapy, Albert Ellis's Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy, and Marsha Linehan's Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Specific empirically-derived cognitive features are also addressed, such as deficient problem-solving skills, perfectionism, negative body image, and overgeneral autobiographical memory.
Implications for understanding and intervening with suicidal individuals are profound—suicidal thought processes are viewed here as causal (as opposed to merely correlated) factors in suicidality. Such thoughts, perhaps for the first time, begin to be viewed, not only as part of the problem, but as part of a potential solution.
I. Overview and Historical Perspective
- The Study of Cognition and Suicide: Beginnings and Developmental Milestones
—Thomas E. Ellis
- Shneidman's Contributions to the Understanding of Suicidal Thinking
—David A. Jobes and Kathryn N. Nelson
II. Theoretical Systems
- Cognitive Therapy, Cognition and Suicidal Behavior
—Gregory K. Brown, Elizabeth Jeglic, Gregg R. Henriques, and Aaron T. Beck
- Suicide from the Perspective of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy
—Albert Ellis and Thomas E. Ellis
- Linehan's Theory of Suicidal Behavior: Theory, Research, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy
—Milton Z. Brown
- Suicide and the Inner Voice
- To Be or Not to Be: Personal Constructions of the Suicidal Choice
—Robert A. Neimeyer and David A. Winter
III. Cognitive Aspects of Suicidality
- The Role of Overgeneral Memory in Suicidality
—J. Mark G. Williams, Thorsten Barnhofer, Catherine Crane, and Danielle S. Duggan
- The Body–Mind of the Suicidal Person
- Trait Perfectionism Dimensions and Suicidal Behavior
—Paul L. Hewitt, Gordon L. Flett, Simon B. Sherry, and Carmen Caelian
- Problem Solving: A Conceptual Approach to Suicidality and Psychotherapy
—Mark A Reinecke
- Suicide and Positive Cognitions: Positive Psychology Applied to the Understanding and Treatment of Suicidal Behavior
—LaRicka R. Wingate, Andrea B. Burns, Kathryn Gordon, Marisol Perez, Rheeda L. Walker, Foluso M. Williams, and Thomas E. Joiner, Jr.
IV. Special Topics
- Developmental Influences on Suicidality Among Adolescents: Cognitive, Emotional, and Neuroscience Aspects
—Barry M. Wagner and Joanna H. Zimmerman
- Suicide and Cognition in Schizophrenia
—Zaffer Iqbal and Max Birchwood
- Trauma and Suicide: A Constructive Narrative Perspective
- Fluid Vulnerability Theory: A Cognitive Approach to Understanding the Process of Acute and Chronic Suicide Risk
—M. David Rudd
Epilogue: What Have We Learned About Cognition and Suicide and What More Do We Need to Know?
About the Editor
Thomas E. Ellis, PsyD, is a professor of psychology at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. He earned his bachelor's degree in psychology at the University of Texas at Austin in 1974 and his doctor of psychology degree at Baylor University in 1978. He completed his predoctoral internship at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, Charleston Division. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA; Society of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy divisions) and diplomate of the American Board of Professional Psychology (behavioral psychology). He is a founding fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy and an associate fellow of the Albert Ellis Institute.
He has published numerous journal articles and book chapters in the area of cognition and suicide. He is coauthor (with W. Fremouw and M. DePerczel) of Suicide Risk: Assessment and Response Guidelines (1990) and (with C. Newman) of Choosing to Live: How to Defeat Suicide Through Cognitive Therapy (1996). He is a consulting editor for Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior and the Journal of Rational–Emotive and Cognitive–Behavioral Therapy.
His research and scholarly work pertaining to suicidal individuals has focused on various cognitive characteristics, classification issues, and cognitive therapy interventions. His current research focuses on relationships among health beliefs, health risk behaviors, and suicide risk. He is the former director of the Clinical Division of the American Association of Suicidology. In addition, he is a member of the APA, the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, and the International Academy for Suicide Research.
He lives in Huntington, West Virginia, with his wife and two children.