Sunday, December 25, 2022

Loving someone with suicidal thoughts: Interview with Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW

[Episode 132] Today's episode of the Social Work Podcast is an interview with Stacey Freedenthal, Ph.D., LCSW about her book Loving Someone with Suicidal Thoughts: What Family, Friends, and Partners Can Say and Do (New Harbinger Publications, 2023). Stacey and I talk about how she drew on her personal and professional experiences to write a book for families, friends and parents of someone who is suicidal. She talks about why and how families can create support teams, when and why it might not be appropriate to reach out to others, and how to navigate reaching out even when the suicidal person doesn't want you to. We talked about how to find support on social networks like Facebook. She talks about how friends and family can feel manipulated by a suicidal loved one, even if the suicidal person isn't being manipulative. Throughout the interview, Stacey speaks to families AND social workers. 
 Dr. Freedenthal is an associate professor at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work, and a psychotherapist in private practice. She lives in Denver, CO, with her husband and their collection of cats.
 
Download MP3 [32:54]

 

Bio 

Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW is recognized nationally and internationally for her expertise in helping people who have suicidal thoughts. Her new book is Loving Someone with Suicidal Thoughts: What Family, Friends, and Partners Can Say and Do (New Harbinger Publications, 2023). Dr. Freedenthal also authored the book Helping Someone with Suicidal Thoughts: Tips and Techniques for Professionals (Routledge; 2018), and she created and maintains the website Speaking of Suicide. She has authored or co-authored more than two dozen peer-reviewed articles and book chapters about suicidal intent, youth suicidality, mental health service use, and other topics related to suicide. You can find her on Twitter

Dr. Freedenthal is an associate professor at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work, and a psychotherapist in private practice. She lives in Denver, CO, with her husband and their collection of cats.



Transcript

Introduction

Hey there podcast listeners, Jonathan here. I’m recording this on December 25th. And I realize that you probably aren’t listening on the 25th. Like billions of people around the world, you might be celebrating Christmas or possibly Chinese food and movie, or prepping for Kwanzaa. Regardless of what you celebrate, you might be familiar with one of the holiday’s most persistent myths. No, I’m not talking about the reindeer and present deliverer. I’m talking about the myth that suicides increase during the holidays, especially Christmas. This myth is so pervasive that the Centers for Disease Control has a blog post debunking it (https://www.cdc.gov/suicide/holiday.html). In fact, December is the month with the fewest suicide deaths.

Today’s guest writes about some other pervasive myths about suicide:
Myth #1: Everyone who dies by suicide has a mental illness
Myth #2: Suicide is always preventable
Myth #3: Once someone decides to end their life, there’s nothing you can do to stop them.

These are all myths. One of the myths my guest doesn’t include in her list, but one that she debunks all the time, is the myth that social workers don’t struggle with suicidal thoughts or behaviors, or that you can’t be a good social worker if you’re having suicidal thoughts, or have struggled with suicide attempts. Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t have a place in social work. You do.

Today I'm speaking with Dr. Stacey Freedenthal. You might remember her from Episode 119 where she shared tips for professionals working with suicidal people. Or you might know Stacey from her blog, SpeakingOfSuicide.com, her 2017 New York Times op-ed where she came out as a suicide attempt survivor (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/11/well/mind/a-suicide-therapists-secret-past.html), or her work any of her academic contributions as an associate professor at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work. Today, she is back on the podcast to talk about her 2023 book, Loving Someone with Suicidal Thoughts: What Family, Friends, and Partners Can Say and Do, from New Harbinger Publications.

In today's interview, Stacey and I talk about how she drew on her personal and professional experiences to write a book for families, friends and parents of someone who is suicidal. She talks about why and how families can create support teams, when and why it might not be appropriate to reach out to others, and how to navigate reaching out even when the suicidal person doesn't want you to. We talked about how to find support on social networks like Facebook. She talks about how friends and family can feel manipulated by a suicidal loved one, even if the suicidal person isn't being manipulative. Throughout the interview, Stacey speaks to families AND social workers. For example, in her book she takes the classic therapy phrase "active listening" and suggests that for families we call it "brave listening." I love that. Active listening is so professional. If you're listening to your kid or your partner or your parent talk about how they don't want to live any more, you're brave listening... that's what it is.
 
And now, without further ado, on to episode 132 of the Social Work Podcast, Loving someone with suicidal thoughts: Interview with Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW
 

Interview 

(forthcoming - if you want to transcribe this episode, send me an email)

 

Resources

 

APA (7th ed) citation for this podcast:

Singer, J. B. (Producer). (2022, December 25). #131 - Loving someone with suicidal thoughts: Interview with Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW [Audio Podcast]. Social Work Podcast. Retrieved from http://www.socialworkpodcast.com/2022/12/Freedenthal2022.html

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