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Digital Seminar

Suicidality and Suicide Loss in Children and Teens: Prevent Suicide and Restore Hope to Kids Grieving After Traumatic Loss

Leslie W. Baker, MFT, NCC, RPT-S |  Mary Ruth Cross, MFT, RPT-S
6 Hours 09 Minutes
Nov 20, 2019
Product Code:
Media Type:
Digital Seminar
Never expires.


Suicide shatters worlds. And working with suicide is one of the most nerve-wracking and emotionally draining parts of your job.

Whether your client is a suicidal young person, or one who’s grieving in the aftermath of a loved one’s death by suicide, the weight of the situation can leave you feeling uncertain of your next steps and looking for answers …

  • How do I identify true suicidal intent and/or lethality?
  • How do I effectively work with kids and adolescents when their developmental levels vary drastically?
  • How do I restore hope when a loved one’s sudden, and sometimes violent, death has left a child or adolescent in an emotional freefall?

This recording will provide you with answers to your toughest questions and give you the tools you need to assess for suicide risk in kids and adolescents, effectively intervene in suicidal crisis, and help them cope with the feelings that can leave them at risk for suicide.

You’ll also learn how to apply play therapy interventions for children and teens whose worlds’ have been shattered following a loved ones’ death by suicide.

Along with guidance from our expert instructors, these evidence-based techniques will empower you to work with vulnerable young people experiencing traumatic grief more skillfully than ever before.

This recording will leave you feeling confident and capable in your ability to move young clients toward hope and healing!


- 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 online program is worth 6.25 hours CPD for points calculation by your association.



Leslie W. Baker, MFT, NCC, RPT-S's Profile

Leslie W. Baker, MFT, NCC, RPT-S Related seminars and products

Leslie W. Baker, MFT, NCC, RPT-S, has over 27 years of experience as a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, a National Board-Certified Counselor and a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor. She is the CEO/executive director of the Therapy2Thrive® Ruby Hill Marriage & Family Counseling Center in Pleasanton, CA, which provides counseling services to the community. Leslie is a Certified Gottman Therapist and integrates play therapy with all ages.

She is co-owner of Academy for Play Therapy Training, Inc.™, a training program for mental health professionals providing workshops and supervision for clinicians seeking to become registered play therapists. Leslie is a trained Suicide Bereavement Clinician and has volunteered for the past seven years with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in San Francisco Bay Area as a keynote speaker at the Survivors Day conferences in the Tri-Valley Area.

She is also a speaker for the Annual Suicide Prevention Conference for the Tri-Valley NAMI and Family Resource Center in CA. Leslie is the author of Healing Feelings: A Healing Story for Children Coping with a Grownup's Mental Illness and is author of Therapy in the Digital Age as a guest in Integrating Technology into Modern Therapies: A Clinician’s Guide to Developments and Interventions, edited by Dr. Jessica Stone. Leslie is an experienced local, national and international speaker on topics including suicide assessment and prevention, technology in therapy, play therapy, trauma and Gottman couples therapy.


Speaker Disclosures:

Financial:  Leslie Baker maintains a private practice. She is an author for Yorkshire Publishing and receives a royalty.  Ms. Baker receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.

Non-financial:  Leslie Baker is a member of the American Counseling Association; and the Association of Play Therapy.  

Mary Ruth Cross, MFT, RPT-S Related seminars and products

Mary Ruth Cross, MFT, RPT-S, is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Counselor Educator with over 24 years’ experience in the mental health field. Mary Ruth is a dedicated educator and has been on faculty with both University of Phoenix and John F. Kennedy training graduate students in the field of clinical counseling and play therapy. Mary Ruth is a nationally recognized speaker on play therapy and working with children and their families. She works in a private practice counseling center as CEO and Owner of Treehouse Family Counseling Services in San Ramon, CA.

Mary Ruth trains and supervises interns and trainees focusing on building a strong therapeutic team. Mary Ruth is a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor as well as past president for the California Association for Play Therapy and a member in good standing with the Association of Play Therapy, California Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Mary Ruth continues to be involved in the play therapy community by participating in leadership on local and statewide events and participation on committees with The Association for Play Therapy.

Mary Ruth is co-owner of Academy for Play Therapy Training, Inc.™ where she plans and implements workshops geared to improving the knowledge and expertise of clinicians in the use of play therapy. Mary Ruth has presented workshops nationally and internationally in support of improving counselor efficacy.


Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Mary Ruth Cross maintains a private practice. She receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Mary Ruth Cross is a member of the California Association for Marriage and Family Therapy; the Association for Play Therapy; and the American Counseling Association.



  1. Appraise risk factors and warning signs of suicidal behaviour in children and adolescents to increase skills in risk assessment of suicidality.
  2. Analyze protective factors that may reduce suicidal behaviour in children and teens.
  3. Apply play-based interventions to reduce suicidal thoughts and/or suicidal behaviours in children and teens.
  4. Implement assessment tools that identify children and teens at highest risk for suicidality.
  5. Determine the role of parents and caregivers in suicide risk assessment and prevention situations.
  6. Articulate and apply play-based interventions to address childhood traumatic grief (CTG) for children and teens who are survivors of suicide loss.


Warning Signs For Children and Teens

  • Risk factors with or without a mental health diagnosis
  • Build compassion, reduce stigma for clinicians and parents
  • Determine roles in suicide risk assessment situations

Risk Assessment And Crisis Response

  • Implicit vs. explicit forms of expressions of suicidality
  • Listening, supportive, caring response
  • Introduction of the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale – C-SSRS
  • Brief protocols for assessment and treatment

Creating The Treatment Plan

  • Protective factors: Adults vs Youth
  • Complicating factors for children and teens: dual diagnosis, negative life events
  • Handling a crisis of suicidal intent or ideation
    • Clinician – Case examples of applying assessment protocol and action
    • Parents & caregivers – Case examples of applying assessment protocol and action

Bringing The Prefrontal Cortex Back Online

  • Bottom-up treatment approach to calm, regulate and soothe
  • Match intervention to brain development
  • Develop brain-based treatment plan

Suicide Prevention

  • CBT Interventions & Play-based interventions adapted for ages 4-20
    • Explore with symbols and/or words – “Puzzling” Warning Signs
    • Thought-stopping, self-soothing: affirmations, mediation and mantras – Stop & Calm
    • Key areas of prevention – Three Circles of Hope
    • Skills to assist in coping, promoting social connection, increasing support, removing access to lethal means – Handy Circle
    • Caring Contacts, keeping connected – Hope Notes & Post Cards
    • Safety Planning – Bee-Safe, MY3 APP

Treatment of Traumatic Grief After Suicide Loss

  • Emotional regulation and containment
    • Guided imagery to recreate scene of passing, create new reality
    • Explore the changes since the loss
    • Promote mastery & control in communication
  • Memorializing, Legacy, Imaginal Dialogue
    • Continue bonds and relationships
    • Memorialize in a safe and non-permanent manner
    • Process feelings in imaginal dialogue
  • Story Telling and Social Action
    • Express your story in the sandtray
    • Hope for the future
    • In Action! Integrating loss – Impacting Community

Supporting School Staff, Parents and Caregivers

  • Manage suicidal thoughts & behaviours
  • Caregiver assess risk
  • Address fears, worries and concerns
  • Hospitalization, after care, and reducing suicidal ideation
  • Resources for teachers, parents and caregivers

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Marriage and Family Therapist
  • Educators
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Speech-Language Pathologists
  • School Personnel all helping professionals who work with children

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