If, did not have any intention of carrying out

If, during a counselling session, a client stated, ‘I do not
see the point anymore,’ or ,’I want to kill myself,’ it is important that the
counsellor addresses these statements sensitively but directly. I would, as the
counsellor, ask the victim whether they had any thoughts of suicide and whether
they were self-harming themselves or had had thoughts of doing so.

If the client replied that they occasionally/regularly had
thoughts of suicide but did not have any intention of carrying out these
thoughts, I would sensitively ask questions to clarify; how long the client had
had these thoughts, how often these thoughts occur, did they occur around any
specific date, was there a specific reason as to why these thoughts occur, had
they thought of how they would do it and what was it that stopped them from
suiciding. If, after speaking with the client, I believed that the client did
not have any intention of suicide, but felt that I would benefit from further
advice and reassurance, I would speak with my safeguarding officer or
supervisor.

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If the victim replied that they had recent thoughts of
suicide and did intend carry out these thoughts, I would then ask the following
questions:

Have they made a plan of how they plan to suicide? If they
said yes, I would then ask that they tell me about it. I would clarify whether
they had a timeframe to carry out the suicide, what method they planned to use,
for example, taking an excessive amount of medication. I would then ask further
questions to establish what the medication was, where they were keeping it and
if they had any of the medication on them at the moment. I would also ask why
they had not carried out the act yet and ask questions about what/who it was
that was keeping them from doing so. For example, if they mentioned that they
had a younger sister that they were close to, I would ask the client questions
about that person to allow them to recognise potential reasons to keep them
from suiciding.

I would then speak with the client, reaffirming our contract
and inform them that I would need to speak with my safe guarding officer about
what we had discussed, ensuring that they were aware that this was about
keeping them safe, not that they had done anything wrong.

If I believe that a client is self-harming I would ask them
directly about this. The client may admit that they are or they may deny it.
However, it is important to recognise that the client may be using self-harm as
a coping strategy and to ask them to stop doing this, may potentially be more
harmful to them. Therefore, I would ask the client questions such as; why they
were self-harming, what they were thinking when they did it, how did it make
them feel, did they feel better or worse than before they carried out the
self-harm. If for example, the client cut themselves, I would ask them whether
they would consider trying something else,
for example…….but I would not tell them that they need to stop, as this
may cause them to feel guilt and shame about their behaviour and that they are
being judged may possibly stop them from attending further counselling sessions.