If you or someone you love is dealing with a crisis right now, please call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HOME to 741741 to reach a crisis counselor at the Crisis Text Line. A compassionate guide to managing suicidal thoughts and finding hope If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, please know that you are not alone and that you are worthy of help. Your life and well-being matter. When you’re suffering, life’s challenges can feel overwhelming and even insurmountable. This workbook is here to help you find relief and solutions when suicidal thoughts take over. Grounded in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), this compassionate workbook offers practical tools to guide you toward a place of hope. It will help you identify your reasons for living, manage intense emotions and painful thoughts, and create a safe environment when you are in a crisis. You’ll also find ways to strengthen social connections, foster self-compassion, and rediscover activities that bring joy and meaning to your life. This workbook is here to support you. However you are feeling at this moment, remember the You are worth it, you are loved, and you matter.
Kathryn H. Gordon, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in cognitive-behavioral therapy. Prior to working as a therapist, Dr. Gordon was a professor for ten years. She was recognized as an Inspiring Teacher for her classes about psychopathology, empirically-supported therapy, and cultural diversity. Dr. Gordon is a mental health researcher who has published over eighty scientific articles and book chapters on suicidal behavior, disordered eating, and related topics. She co-hosts Psychodrama Podcast and blogs for Psychology Today.
As a clinical psychologist, I was thrilled to receive my copy of Dr. Gordon’s book, The Suicidal Thoughts Workbook, as she has been a favorite writer of mine for quite some time. Of course, even given my fandom, the quality of the book exceeded my expectations. The topic of suicide can be an extremely challenging and unfortunately taboo point of discussion for the general public and even for some therapists. But Dr. Gordon’s approach to the book modeled precisely how one would want the topic addressed in a therapeutic context. Her gift for writing allowed her to imbue the content with a client-centered approach, meaning that you can feel her empathy, compassion, unconditional positive regard, and non-judgmental acceptance towards her readers. On top of that foundation, the book is couched in evidence-based therapeutic principles, drawing from cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and motivational interviewing, as well as values- and meaning-based modalities. Among its biggest assets is that the book is accessible: it provides well-researched, practical skills to help people manage suicidal thoughts, such as ways to strengthen relationships, inspire hope and optimism, and plan for safety. In short, this book is the total package—especially for people experiencing suicidal thoughts and for therapists looking to help them.
The Suicidal Thoughts Workbook by Kathryn Hope Gordon aims to support people experiencing thoughts of suicide to help manage their emotional pain, drawing on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) strategies.
The book begins by guiding the reader through worksheets to reflect on reactions to the suicidal thoughts and identify risk factors and elements in the environment that may contribute. There are also worksheets to identify social supports and prepare a crisis plan. The author describes the Three-Step Theory, which I hadn’t heard of before, to help readers understand how suicide can arise from pain, hopelessness, and loss of connection.
CBT techniques that are covered include problem-solving approaches, reframing negative thought, and changing attributions. Mindfulness is also incorporated. The acronym HOPE is used to group various strategies as help-seeking, optimism, changing perspective, and attending to emotions.
The chapter on relationships made me cringe a little bit. One of the suggestions was that if you feel lonely, you could try meeting people on a dating app. I met with a therapist once who suggested I start dating to deal with my depression, which seemed wildly inappropriate. The book also talked about strengthening old and creating new relationships, and joining a community choir was one of the suggestions. I can see where the author is trying to go, but really, there’s a time and a place, and I’m not convinced this is it this is it.
There was a suggestion that instead of daydreaming about suicide, you should try daydreaming about something you’re looking forward to. I’m not a daydreamer, and maybe this is just me, but when I’m suicidal, there’s sweet bugger-all that I’m looking forward to, with perhaps the exception of being dead. If I was looking forward to something, would I really be wanting to off myself?
I think this author was trying to be kind and gentle and compassionate. I found the thanking and the praising a bit much, but then I’m probably a cynical old goat. This book is written for an audience that needs kind and gentle, not so much for people like me who’ve been around the block a few times and have the cynicism to show for it. It wasn’t really my cup of tea, but I think it would do a good job of serving the audience that it’s (not explicitly) aimed at.
I received a reviewer copy from the publisher through Netgalley.
(I received this book in exchange for an honest review.) As someone studying Clinical Mental Health, I am impressed with Dr. Gordon’s ability to tackle suicidal thoughts in a workbook form. When I received this book, I knew it was a book with the potential to do important work. It does not disappoint. Gordon does an excellent job of identifying key CBT concepts and allowing her readers to work through thoughts and emotions while also putting words to the taboo subject of suicide ideation, a subject that normally makes people uncomfortable. She does a good job of providing research while not bogging down the reader or distracting from helping the person in need. I can see future readers benefiting from this workbook particularly if they work through the exercises under the guidance of a licensed therapist. Gordon’s humanity, care, and compassion radiate out of the pages. She has genuine positive regard for those who might pick up her book. I hope clinicians read this workbook and incorporate Gordon’s exercises into their practice. I am grateful that she has tackled this difficult subject. (If you are contemplating suicide, please seek help: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255. You matter.)
Dr. Gordon has written a book that is such a gift for the field of suicide prevention! She brings together the most effective strategies for the treatment of suicide ideation and behavior, describes them clearly, provides practice worksheets, and illustrates her points with relatable examples. Dr. Gordon’s expertise in suicide prevention shines through on every page. She provides a concise overview of the epidemiology of suicide and a psychological theory of suicide in an easy to understand format that will allow readers to understand suicide and master their experiences. This information will also be invaluable to loved ones of people with suicidal thoughts and therapists working with suicidal patients. For therapists, this workbook brings together strategies across several forms of CBT, DBT, and some from IPT as well that can form the basis of a flexible treatment plan. The workbook also covers safety planning. The section on strengthening and building relationships is excellent given the key role of social isolation and loneliness in suicide. A unique aspect of this book is that it is grounded in relationships and encourages readers to consider involving others in working through the workbook; thinking about how their relationships help or hinder mental health; and take actions to improve relationships. I’m so grateful for this book and look forward to sharing it with my patients, mentees, and friends. [Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Note as well that I had already pre-ordered a paid copy when I offered the free one. :)].
The Suicidal Thoughts Workbook is written by Kathryn Gordon, PhD, who is a therapist that does work with suicidal clients. This book was one of the best books I have ever read about suicide. It give practical worksheets (some of which are downloadable from the book’s website) as well as a cheering on for making this far. Dr. Gordon uses perfect examples of how to answer the questions if you get stuck or have trouble answering them. There are no right or wrong answers and she encourages you throughout the book. I highly recommend this book for people who have suicidal thoughts, loved ones who have people with suicidal thoughts, as well as professionals that work with suicidal clients.
As a clinical psychologist, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Dr. Gordon presents research-based strategies in a clear, user-friendly manner. With a compassionate voice, she de-stigmatizes suicidal thinking, letting readers know that they are not alone and instilling hope. A must-read for anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts, or anyone who treats those with suicidal thoughts.
It's a really good read if you want to understand your own thinking or someone's closest to you. It's really good to be knowledgeable in this subjects because you never know when you can help someone that needs it !