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When A Teen Expresses Suicide, A Talking Technique to Support and Approach Them With Care and Prevention

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Jeanette Yoffe M.A. M.F.T.

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Author of Groundbreaking Interventions: Working with Traumatized Children, Teens and Families in Foster Care and Adoption and What s Your Name, Who s Your Daddy? a one woman play about growing up in foster care and adoption available on Amazon and Audible. She has appeared on the OWN and TLC Network, as a Psychotherapist teaching about Adoption in the shows Raising Whitley and Long Lost Family.

In 2017, there were 47,173 suicides leading to death. There were over 1,300,000 suicide attempts. The current rate of suicide in the US is the highest it has been in over 10 years, and the numbers continue to grow. It's time we start to understand suicide and prevent it.

Signs of suicidal ideation include talking about wanting to die, increased use of alcohol and other substances, looking for ways to kill oneself, feeling hopeless, talking about being a burden to others, acting anxious, restless and agitated, feeling like they are a burden, feeling unbearable pain, poor sleep, mood swings, withdrawing from others and isolating.

All these attempts are seeking a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

But what they "really want is to end, destroy, and make the feelings, thoughts, and sensations go away related to a "part of them" and we need to help them see it as so. This "part of them" is what wants to die, escape, run away, kill off, push away. When we can help teens have objectivity and see this part of themselves as separate, it doesn't feel so overwhelming, helpless or hopeless.

Then they can learn to separate from these feelings, observe, watch and listen, be an OWL and learn how to soothe, nurture and give their parts what they need to survive.

What we resist, persists. We cannot push away feelings, we need to learn how to be with feelings by compartmentalizing them in parts.

We are made of many parts: happy, sad, mad, silly, creative, smart, lonely. We need to honor each part, even if it is uncomfortable we can still learn to be with the feelings, thoughts, and sensations with new tools.

 

 

 

Teens need us to help them re-organize their thinking and understand what they are really attempting to do. Kill off these thoughts, feelings, and sensations that feel overwhelming however can be manageable with 4 steps. 

1. Compartmentalizing the Part to See It

2. Naming the Part to Tame It

2. Feeding the Part to Nurture It

3. Practicing the tools to Moe Through It

Jeanette's approach will teach viewers to help the person contemplating suicide think differently about their pain through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has used this approach with hundreds of her patients and has helped so many see their pain differently and be able to utilize their skill set to move through it. 

 

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