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Cogn Behav Pract. 2012 Jan 5;19(2):265-276. Epub 2011 Apr 15.

Mindfulness in the Treatment of Suicidal Individuals.

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Portland Psychotherapy Clinic, Research, & Training Center.


Suicidal behavior is exhibited by a diverse population of individuals and spans many diagnostic categories. In order to develop effective prevention and treatment programs, it is important to identify transdiagnostic processes that impact the many pathways to suicidality, are amenable to intervention, and affect clinical outcomes when modified. A growing body of data suggests that experiential avoidance, or the tendency to escape or avoid unwanted psychological experiences, even when such efforts cause harm, may represent one such universal process. This article reviews theory and evidence that support mindfulness and psychological acceptance as a means to target experiential avoidance in suicidal clients and thereby reduce the risk of suicide. The article also provides two case examples of the application of mindfulness to suicidality and discusses how mindfulness may help clinicians in managing the stress associated with treating suicidal clients.

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