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Addressing hopelessness in people with suicidal ideation: building upon the therapeutic relationship utilizing a cognitive behavioural approach

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This article reports on how the therapeutic relationship can be enhanced by utilizing a cognitive behavioural approach when dealing with hopelessness in suicidal people. A rationale is presented regarding why this topic is deemed important. Following a brief overview of the concept of hope, the theoretical and empirical literature relating to hopelessness are examined. This literature indicates that, given the inextricable link between suicide and a sense of pervasive hopelessness, it is necessary for the practitioner to understand the methods and theoretical underpinnings of hope inspiration. Two case studies, drawn from clinical practice, are described in order to elucidate the key elements/interventions (which include the therapeutic relationship and specific cognitive behavioural techniques that the nurse therapist may utilize when attempting to ameliorate the client's sense of hopelessness). These key elements/interventions are further elaborated upon. Whilst cognitive behavioural techniques are shown to be beneficial when dealing with hopelessness, it is advocated that the therapeutic relationship is a prerequisite for successful therapy.
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Keywords: cognitive behavioural approach; hope; hopelessness; suicidal clients; therapeutic relationship

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Senior Cognitive Therapist, Northern Ireland Centre for Trauma and Transformation, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, UK, and 2: Chair of Nursing, University of Northern British Columbia, Canada

Publication date: April 1, 2003

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