• Saturday, April 14

Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk: Core Competencies for University and College Counseling Center Staffs

A workshop presented in collaboration with the Suicide Prevention Resource Center and the American Association of Suicidology. There is a $75.00 workshop fee.

Workshop Presenter:  Rebecca Stefan Dayton, Ph.D., Director, Syracuse University Counseling Center

Core Competencies

Core competencies refer to the clinical evaluation, formulation of risk, treatment planning, and management of individuals at risk for suicide to protect their lives and promote their well-being.

The following set of core competencies, based on current empirical evidence and expert opinion, provides a common framework for learning about and gaining skill in working with individuals at risk for suicide. They are not intended to be construed or to serve as a standard of care.

Twenty-four competencies and their sub-competencies fall into eight broad categories as outlined below. Core competencies related to specific treatment interventions have not been developed.

A. Working with Individuals at Risk for Suicide: Attitudes and Approach
B. Understanding Suicide
C. Collecting Accurate Assessment Information
D. Formulating Risk
E. Developing a Treatment and Services Plan
F. Managing Care
G. Documenting
H. Understanding legal and regulatory issues related to suicidality

Learning Objectives

By completing the required pre-workshop reading, participants will:

  • Become familiar with core competencies that enable mental health therapists to assess and work more effectively with individuals at risk for suicide
  • Define terms related to suicidality
  • Become familiar with suicide-related statistics
  • Identify major risk and protective factors
  • Understand the phenomenology of suicide
  • By the end of this course, participants will:

    • Increase their knowledge in the following core competencies:
      • Manage one's own reactions to suicide
      • Reconcile the difference (and potential conflict) between the clinician's goal to prevent suicide and the client's goal to eliminate psychological pain via suicidal behavior
      • Maintain a collaborative, non-adversarial stance
      • Elicit suicide ideation, behavior, and plans
      • Make a clinical judgment of the risk that a client will attempt or complete suicide in the short and long term
      • Collaboratively develop an emergency plan
      • Develop a written treatment and services plan that addresses the client's immediate, acute, and continuing suicide ideation and risk for suicide behavior
      • Develop policies and procedures for following clients closely, including taking reasonable steps to be proactive
      • Follow principles of crisis management
    • Experience a shift in perspective in working with individuals at risk for suicide.
      • We expect you will experience changes in perceptions of working with suicidal clients. For example, you may experience an increased willingness, confidence, or clarity in working with individuals at risk for suicide.
    • Identify changes to make in your practice specific to the assessment and management of individuals at risk for suicide.

    Workshop Schedule

     8:30 - 8:45  Welcome and overview
     8:45 - 9:00  Opening exercise and introductions
     9:00 - 10:30  Attitudes and approach
     10:30 - 10:45  Break
     10:45 - 11:05  Understanding suicide
     11:05 - 12:15  Eliciting suicide ideation, behavior and plans
     12:15 - 1:15  LUNCH
     1:15 - 2:15  Formulation of risk
     2:15 -3:00  Treatment planning
     3:00 - 3:15  BREAK
     3:15 - 3:45  Treatment planning (continued)
     3:45 - 4:15

     Management of care

    4:15 - 4:45  Documentation and Legal Issues   

    4:45 - 5:00  Summary and Evaluation


    Continuing Education

    This program is co-sponsored by the American Association of Suicidology and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center. The American Association of Suicidology is approved by the American Psychological Association to offer continuing education  for psychologists.   The American Association of Suicidology maintains responsibility for the program. Psychologists completing the evaluation form for this program will receive 6.5 Continuing Education units. The Suicide Prevention Resource Center will provide Continuing Education Units from the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).  Credit will not be given for partial attendance.

    Workshop Presenter

    This workshop is presented by Rebecca Stefan Dayton, Ph.D. who has been the director of the Syracuse University Counseling Center for the past 10 years.  She is a licensed clinical psychologist in New York and has been working in the field of suicide prevention and intervention for much of her clinical career. She has extensive experience working with suicidal clients individually, and is responsible for the broader policy and skill-building issues related to suicide assessment and management within her Center. Under Dayton's leadership, the Syracuse University Counseling Center was recently awarded a SAMHSA grant to enhance suicide prevention on the Syracuse University campus. Dr. Dayton believes in a relational/connective approach to working with suicidal students and will bring this theme of her work into the suicide training course.