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Digital Seminar

Why People Die by Suicide: What the Last 20 Years of Research Shows Us

Thomas Joiner, PhD
1 Hour 02 Minutes
Sep 09, 2021
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Digital Seminar
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In his theory of suicidal behaviour, Thomas Joiner proposes three factors that mark those most at risk of death: the feeling of being a burden on loved ones, the sense of isolation, and, perhaps chillingly, the partly genetic and partly learned ability to hurt oneself. He tests the theory against diverse facts taken from clinical anecdotes, epidemiology, genetics, and neurobiology, with implications for the full spectrum of clinical activities related to suicidality.



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Thomas Joiner went to college at Princeton and received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. He is The Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology at Florida State University (FSU). Dr Joiner's work is on the psychology, neurobiology, and treatment of suicidal behavior and related conditions. Author of over 750 peer-reviewed publications, Dr. Joiner is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Suicide & Life-Threatening Behavior. Dr. Joiner has authored or edited over 18 books, including Why People Die by Suicide, Myths About Suicide, and Mindlessness: The Corruption of Mindfulness in a Culture of Narcissism. In connection with his publications, Dr. Joiner has made numerous media appearances, including the Dr. Phil show twice. Dr. Joiner has also been the recipient of many awards, recently, the 2020 James McKeen Cattell Award for lifetime contributions to the area of applied psychological research. Dr. Joiner is also a consultant to NASA's Human Research Program and the Director of a Military Suicide Research Consortium. He runs a part-time clinical and consulting practice specializing in, among other topics, suicidal behavior, including legal consultation on suits involving death by suicide.

Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Thomas Joiner is The Robert O. Lawton Distinguished professor at Florida State University. He is the editor-in-chief for the Suicide & Life-Threatening Behavior. Dr. Joiner is an author and receives royalties. He receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc. He has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.

Non-financial: Thomas Joiner is a member of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT); and the Society for the Science of Clinical Psychology (SSCP). 

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  1. Evaluate anecdotal, clinical, and scientific evidence on a new theory of suicidal behaviour.
  2. Appraise approaches to suicide risk assessment (utilizing risk assessment instruments) developments in the treatment of suicidal behaviour, and in suicide prevention.
  3. Develop skills to understand the experience of people who are bereaved by suicide.


  • Conceptualizing and evaluating suicidal behaviour from a new perspective
  • Exploration of approaches to suicide risk assessment
  • Overview of interventions for suicidal behaviour
  • Investigation of research on suicide prevention
  • In-depth understanding of bereavement related to suicide
  • Overview of risk assessment screens and instruments

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Psychotherapists
  • Therapists
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Case Managers
  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Other Mental Health Professionals

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