Psychological Help for Family after Suicide



Relevance. After suiced family go through a psychological crisis, relatives are at risk of developing symptoms of emotional distress. At the same time, stigmatization can interfere seeking informal help, which makes it important to provide psychological help to this group of clients. Purpose of the study. Examine various approaches to providing psychological help to relatives of suicides and highlight the targets of such interventions. Materials and methods. The article presents a literature review of foreign studies of the effectiveness of various formats of psychological help for the family of a suicide. Results. There are different forms of psychological help for relatives of suicides: individual, group and family psychotherapy. After a suicide attempt, more research are focus on family therapy, and after a completed suicide on group psychotherapy for relatives of a suicide. For family therapy of suicidal behavior, two approaches are the most developt – cognitive–behavioral and attachment–based psychotherapy. The goals of working with the family are to reduce conflict and criticism, increase cohesion, develop communication skills and stabilization of the emotional state of family members. Inclusion of the family in the therapy of patient after suicide attempt increases the effectiveness of treatment. Support groups have become the most popular format for helping relatives after a completed suicide. Among the goals of working with the grieving are opportunity to share difficult feelings, return control over life, reconstruction of the meaning of what happened, and stoping ruminations. Research shows the effectiveness of these interventions for coping with grief, reducing emotional lability and improving social adaptation. Conclusions. Relatives of suicidal people need opportune psychological help. The most common approach for psychological help is cognitive–behavioral psychotherapy, which has programs with proven effectiveness for both relatives after a suicide attempt and after a completed suicide.

General Information

Keywords: suicide, suicide attempt, psychotherapy, suicide survivors, family members

Journal rubric: Research Reviews

Article type: review article


Received: 30.04.2023


For citation: Borisonik E.V. Psychological Help for Family after Suicide. Konsul'tativnaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya = Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy, 2023. Vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 99–118. DOI: 10.17759/cpp.2023310205. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Evgeniya V. Borisonik, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Counseling and Clinical Psychology, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education (MSUPE), Medical Psychologist, Sklifosovsky Research Institute of Emergency Care, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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