Talking Through the Silence: How do Clinical Psychologists Who Have Experienced Suicide Bereavement ‘Make Sense’ of Suicide? - A Thematic Analysis
Aims: From the perspective of an insider researcher, this study focuses on how clinical psychologists make sense of suicide, specifically when they too hold their own personal or professional experiences of suicide bereavement. Method: Twelve semi-structured interviews were carried out with clinical psychologists who had experience of losing a client or a loved one to suicide. The interview data was transcribed verbatim and analysed using Thematic Analysis, according to six-phase framework proposed by Braun and Clarke (2006). Results: Three themes were identified following analysis. The first theme identified was, ‘How talk is experienced as a way of making sense of suicide’, followed by the subthemes ‘Talk as inhibited’, ‘Talk as valued’, and ‘Talk as triggering’. The second theme, “The messiness of being human” was followed by the subthemes, ‘Suicide as the solution’, ‘When views are not aligned’, ‘Walking in the family’s shoes’, ‘The right to live and the right to die’, and ‘Self-doubt – what could I have said or done differently?’. The third and final theme was identified as, ‘An experience that helps clinical psychologists face it’, which was followed by the subthemes ‘Resilience in the face of risk’, ‘Suicide loss shaped career’, and ‘The light within the dark clouds’. Considerations & Implications: This study offers rich insight into an area with limited research. However, it is acknowledged that there is an underrepresentation of participants from diverse backgrounds within the participant sample, and limitations related to the author’s position as an insider researcher. The results from the study have been considered in light of existing theory, and implications for clinical, policy and research domains are discussed.
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