The treatment in the Danish suicide prevention clinics: a clinician perspective

Titia Lahoz*, Jan Henrik Winsløv, Rikke Christiansen, Søren Krogh, Per Bjerregaard Knudsen, August G. Wang, Annette Erlangsen, Klaus Nielsen

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Background: Few qualitative studies have focused on clinicians’ perspectives regarding treatment of suicidal people. Despite limited evidence and imperfect risk-assessment tools, the psychosocial therapy at the Danish suicide prevention clinics has been linked to reductions in numbers of repeated self-harm, deaths by suicide, and other causes. This merits an investigation into how clinicians describe their practice. Methods: Using a qualitative design, 10 semi-structured interviews were conducted and analyzed to describe the psychosocial therapy. Results: The practices that the therapists described could be categorized along four dichotomous continuums. These illustrated dilemmas encountered during treatment of suicidal patients: 1) intuitive vs. specific risk assessment, 2) meaningful vs. formal, 3) patient-oriented vs. therapist-oriented and 4) direct vs. indirect approach to suicide prevention. Conclusions: Treatment in the Danish Suicide Prevention Clinics is characterized by methodological flexibility and diversity and with an emphasis on a patient-oriented approach. Furthermore, clinicians balance knowledge available by switching between a direct and an indirect approach according to the perceived suicide risk. If suicide risk was perceived as high, they would administer a direct approach and if low, an indirect approach. Finally, there seems to be differences as to how effective therapeutic methodologies work in the practice of suicide prevention.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)533-540
    Number of pages8
    JournalNordic Journal of Psychiatry
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


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