Suicide Loss Survivors′ Experiences with Therapy: Implications for Clinical Practice

Rebecca Sanford, Julie Cerel, Vanessa McGann, Myfanwy Maple

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Over two-thirds of suicide loss survivors, those who have lost a loved one to suicide, seek individual therapy following their loss. However, nothing is known about what survivors find helpful about therapy or how therapy impacts their grief. An online survey was conducted June 2012–March 2013 with a convenience sample of 197 survivors primarily from the USA and Australia to develop a better understanding of treatment seeking loss survivors and their experiences in therapy. Questions explored the experience of the suicide death, the therapy received after the loss, and insights about improving therapy for loss survivors. Participants were generally positive about their therapy experiences. However, respondents endorsed symptoms of PTSD, though many did not report a formal diagnosis from a provider, suggesting a discrepancy that could lead to inadequate treatment of symptoms. The findings provide an understanding of treatment seeking loss survivors, along with implications for therapists treating this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-558
Number of pages8
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Bereavement
  • Counseling
  • Grief
  • Suicide
  • Therapy
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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