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Digital Seminar

A Strengths-Based Approach to Suicidality: Crucial Strategies to Integrate in Your Practice

John Sommers-Flanagan
2 Hours 03 Minutes
Mar 11, 2022
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Digital Seminar
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Most therapists agree: no clinical tasks are more stressful than suicide assessment and treatment planning. When working with people who are suicidal, it’s all-too-easy for clinicians to overfocus on psychopathology and experience feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. However, framing suicidal ideation as an unparalleled opportunity to help alleviate your client’s deep psychological pain, and embracing a strengths-based orientation, you can relieve some of your own anxiety. In this practice-oriented session, you’ll discover:

  • How strengths-based principles can work in concert with traditional suicide-assessment competencies
  • The limits of traditional suicide risk-factor assessment and the benefits of therapist-client collaboration with three specific therapeutic assessment strategies
  • Emotional, cognitive, physical, and spiritual suicide drivers and corresponding treatment interventions
  • Wellness and mood management, evidence-based, positive psychology interventions you can use with your clients and with yourself



PESI Australia, in collaboration with PESI in the USA, offers quality online continuing professional development events from the leaders in the field at a standard recognized by professional associations including psychology, social work, occupational therapy, alcohol and drug professionals, counselling and psychotherapy. On completion of the training, a Professional Development Certificate is issued after the individual has answered and submitted a quiz and course evaluation. This program is worth 2.25 hours CPD for points calculation by your association.



John Sommers-Flanagan Related seminars and products

John Sommers-Flanagan is a professor of counselor education at the University of Montana. He received his doctorate in psychology in 1986, completing his pre-doctoral internship at Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, NY.


In addition to teaching, research, and supervision, John also has a small independent practice. Previously he was the mental health consultant for Trapper Creek Job Corps (2003-2014), served as executive director of Families First Parenting Programs (1995 to 2003), and was co-host of a radio talk-show on Montana Public Radio titled, “What is it with Men?”  His work with youth and parents has been captured for educational purposes on numerous different local and national video productions.


John primarily specializes in working with children, parents, and families. He is author or coauthor of over 50 professional publications, including eight books.


Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: John Sommers-Flanagan maintains a private practice. He is a professor at the University of Montana. Dr. Sommers-Flanagan receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc. He has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.

Non-financial: John Sommers-Flanagan is a member of the American Counseling Association; the American School Counselors Association; the Montana School Counselor Association; and the American Psychological Association.


  1. Evaluate the limits of traditional suicide assessment and treatment principles and practices.
  2. Demonstrate six strengths-based principles for working with clients who are suicidal.
  3. Practice at least three strengths-based suicide assessment strategies.
  4. Categorize suicide drivers and interventions associated with seven core life dimensions.
  5. Practice at least two evidence-based happiness that clinicians can apply in practice.


  • Common cognitive and emotional reactions to client suicide disclosure
  • Traditional and strengths-based principles in suicide assessment and treatment
  • Strengths-based suicide assessment strategies and techniques
  • Holistic suicide assessment and treatment: Drivers and interventions in the seven dimensions
  • Evidence-based happiness strategies for clinicians and clients

Target Audience

  • Psychologists
  • Physicians
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Art Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Other Behavioral Health Professionals

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