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The treatment of suicidal individuals requires special attention to therapist interventions that promote a viable treatment alliance in the context of shared responsibilities for patient safety. Three core principles in the treatment process (alliance building, enhancing curiosity about the function of suicidal thoughts and urges, as well as enhancing experience and expression of intense emotions) are articulated and brief case vignettes are used to illuminate the principles. Results from open trails and randomized control trials involving suicidal patients are examined to support the evidence-based practice of these principles. The overarching principle undergirding the utility of the principles is a collaborative joining with the patient to decrease isolation and alienation when facing intense and overwhelming emotions.

Keywords: therapeutic alliance, radical curiosity, expression of affect, suicide risk

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Fowler, J. C. (2013). Core principles in treating suicidal patients. Psychotherapy, 50(3), 268-272. doi: 10.1037/a0032030



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