Description of Book

Few clinical challenges are as daunting or critical as the art of suicide assessment. Written by the author of the leading text on clinical interviewing and a nationally recognized expert on assessment interviews, The Practical Art of Suicide Assessment is a concise guidebook on how to assess suicidal risk no matter how complicated the clinical presentation. The text is filled with sample questions, effective strategies, case histories, and excerpts from actual suicide assessments. Dr. Shawn Christopher Shea helps the reader understand the complex inner worlds of both the client contemplating suicide and the clinician trying to prevent it, showing how these worlds invariably interact with and change one another.

Dr. Shea highlights the elusive nature of suicidal ideation and demonstrates the current limitations of prediction. Through examination of the etiology and phenomenology of suicide, he explains how to recognize its many faces, enhancing the interviewer's ability to uncover danger that others might miss.

This book focuses on the art of uncovering suicidal intent, introducing a rapid, thorough, and sensitive interviewing strategy for eliciting suicidal ideation—the Chronological Assessment of Suicide Events (the CASE approach). Developed by Dr. Shea in the "clinical trenches" of a busy emergency room at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the CASE approach is a flexible interview strategy that leads the clinician into the details of the client's suicidal ideation and planning. An actual clinical transcript of the CASE approach is included, illustrating its nuances and techniques as they unfold.

In addition, Dr. Shea also explores critical issues such as contradictory data, client deceit, clinician burnout, the role of corroborative sources of information, and forensic liability.

For clinicians who need to examine their clients' risk of self-harm, The Practical Art of Suicide Assessment is the single, definitive resource.


SHAWN CHRISTOPHER SHEA, MD, is a nationally acclaimed workshop leader and educational innovator in the field of the initial diagnostic interview. He is the author of the best selling text Psychiatric Interviewing: The Art of Understanding, Second Edition. Dr. Shea has received an Outstanding Course Award from the American Psychiatric Association for his presentations at its annual meetings and has presented at both the Cape Cod Symposia and the Santa Fe Symposia. He is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, New Hampshire, and is also in private practice.

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