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Understanding Suicidal Thoughts: A Counsellor's Perspective

Updated: May 27

Suicidal Thoughts.
Lady looking distressed


Suicidal ideation is a complex and sensitive topic that demands careful consideration and compassionate understanding. As a counsellor, addressing this issue requires empathy, knowledge, and a commitment to providing support. In this blog post, we will explore the nuanced aspects of suicidal ideation from a counsellor's perspective, shedding light on the importance of open communication, risk assessment, and the role of therapeutic intervention.

The Importance of Open Communication:

One of the first steps in helping individuals dealing with suicidal thoughts is to create a safe space for open communication. Counsellors play a crucial role in establishing trust and encouraging clients to express their feelings without fear of judgement. Active listening, empathy, and validation are essential tools in fostering a therapeutic relationship that can empower individuals to share their struggles.

Recognising Warning Signs:

Understanding the warning signs of suicidal ideation is paramount for counsellors. It's crucial to be aware of behavioural, emotional, and verbal cues that may indicate a person is at risk. These signs may include withdrawal from social activities, sudden mood changes, giving away possessions, or expressing feelings of hopelessness. By recognising these indicators, counsellors can intervene proactively and provide the necessary support.

Conducting a Risk Assessment:

Assessing the level of risk is a critical aspect of a counsellor's role when dealing with suicidal ideation. This involves evaluating the severity of the thoughts, the presence of a plan, and the individual's access to means. Counsellors employ specific assessment tools and guidelines to determine the immediate risk and develop appropriate intervention strategies, whether it involves contacting emergency services, involving family members, or increasing the frequency of counselling sessions.

Collaborative Treatment Planning:

Suicidal ideation often stems from a complex interplay of psychological, social, and environmental factors. Counsellors work collaboratively with clients to create a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses the underlying issues contributing to the thoughts of self-harm. This may involve individual therapy, group therapy, and potentially medication in collaboration with a psychiatrist. Establishing a support network and involving family and friends can also be integral to the recovery process.

Providing Hope and Building Resilience:

While addressing the gravity of suicidal ideation, counsellors aim to instil hope and build resilience in their clients. Through therapeutic interventions such as talking therapy or other evidence-based approaches, individuals can develop coping mechanisms and a sense of empowerment. Encouraging the exploration of purpose, meaningful connections, and future goals can contribute to a more positive outlook.


Suicidal ideation is a complex and challenging issue that demands a compassionate and informed response from counsellors. By fostering open communication, recognising warning signs, conducting thorough risk assessments, and implementing collaborative treatment plans, counsellors play a crucial role in supporting individuals on their journey toward recovery.

Together, with empathy and expertise, counsellors can make a significant impact in helping individuals navigate the difficult terrain of suicidal thoughts and find hope for a brighter future.

From a personal prospective, as a counsellor, this is an area that I am very comfortable exploring. As well as a counsellor, I also have been a long-term Samaritans listener, so it is a subject matter very close to my heart.

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Samaritans details

Always remember if it is getting too much for you, The Samaritans are available 24/7 on 116 123 (and your call is free and anonymous.

Suicidal thoughts, Samaritans, Difficult Times

counselling, therapy, Cheltenham


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