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Spiritual Emergency/Emergence/Counseling
Record Type: Review   ID: 290

Suicide and the Inner Voice: Risk Assessment, Treatment, and Case Management

Firestone, Robert W.

 This book is directed at members of the helping professions who deal with people at risk for suicide. Firestone reviews what has been learned about suicide in the 7 chapters of Part I. Part II is on microsuicide, or "behaviors, communications, attitudes, or lifestyles that are self-induced and threatening to an individual’s physical health, emotional well-being, or personal goals" (p. 123). The next two parts are in defense formation and assessment and treatment. The focus of the book is his development of voice therapy, which "is a procedure for giving language or spoken words to the negative thought process that is at the core of an individual’s self-destructive behavior. Its purpose is to separate and bring out into the open elements of the antiself system that originated in the internalization of negative parental attitudes and damaging childhood experiences" (p. 262). People are taught to direct the negative thoughts to a second person, not to themselves. They help them to distance themselves from the negative views. Later they learn to counteract the self-destructive thoughts of their inner voice with corrective ones, building on "the unique values that give their lives special meaning" (p. 264). The purpose is to show them they can choose a constructive approach or a destructive one. He describes the "dimensions of a lifestyle that counters suicidal trends," which appears to me to be conducive to self-actualization and life affirmation. It is built on the therapeutic value of friendship, sharing activities and adventure, search for meaning and transcendental goals, consideration of existential issues and spiritual values, developing one’s unique priorities, and having an extended family system. Many of these domains of experience are often associated with EHEs. The approach Firestone has developed may well have value for people who have had exceptional experiences but who are having difficulty in potentiating them into EHEs because of self-destructive negative thinking and a lack of openness to their constructive inner process.
Publisher Information:Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1997. Pp. xv + 333. Appendix: Supplementary Resource Material: 297-298; Aut. ind: 315-320; Bibl: 299-314; Chapnotes; 14 figs; Subj. ind: 321-332; 10 tables
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