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Thu, 07 Mar


Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

Suicide, Trauma and Family Constellations - Presentation and Discussion

A systemic look at the trauma of attempted and completed suicide: a new approach to supporting families affected by suicide in Ireland. Cheyne Lecture Theatre, RCSI This talk has been kindly facilitated by the Department of Psychiatry, RCSI Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

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Time & Location

07 Mar 2019, 19:30 – 21:30

Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, 123 St Stephen's Green, Dublin, D02 YN77, Ireland

About The Event

Suicide is not just about the tragic death of an individual. Bereavement by suicide has a devastating impact on a family, on a community, on the associated health professionals and on society. An unexpected suicide is not easily understood. When it comes to research many of the effects of suicide are not in the realms of the truly quantifiable.

The link between trauma and suicide is well-established. Trauma is acknowledged as a root not just of suicide, but of mental illness, addiction, poverty and indeed the poverty of spirit that often precedes an attempted or completed suicide. However, suicide is more than just a by-product of mental disorder; it is more accurately conceptualized as a phenomenon in its own right. Our research takes into account the complexity of suicidality as it moves away from linear “cause and effect” thinking and looks at the individual experience of suicide within a given family in a particular cultural context.

A systemic view and the use of family constellations offers insights into what may lie behind suicide and suicidal behaviour. Links between traumatic events in the family story and suicidal behaviour can help us understand the “Why?” question that haunts many families. The “resolutions” that arise within the family constellations process often interrupt the “entanglements” where individuals are caught up, in an unconscious manner, in trauma and pain that may belong in a previous generation. The rituals and healing sentences used in constellation work support those bereaved by suicide in a very concrete manner. They have also been very helpful working with people with suicidal ideation.

Join us as we share what we have learned about suicide and its effects from the point of view of the historically and culturally situated individual. Each client has his/her own vocabulary and phrases to describe the family experience of suicide. Each family tells its own story in its very particular way. It is in the study of this story – as told by the family – that we continue to gain insight into the suicides that have a devastating effect on more than 500 families and communities in Ireland every year.

This talk has been kindly facilitated by the Department of Psychiatry, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.


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