Therapeutic effects of psychological autopsies. The impact of investigating suicides on interviewees


Mélissa Henry, Brian Greenfield.


textbfBackground. Several authors have observed a therapeutic impact of the psychological autopsy on the interviewee, although they do not explicitly define what aspects of the process were helpful. textbfAims. This article aims to identify these therapeutic effects and to discuss their potential impact on participants’ narratives. textbfMethods. This article derives from 35 psychological autopsy interviews that were conducted to better understand adolescent and young adult suicide. Interviews lasted approximately 6 to 8 h each and consisted of both a battery of questionnaires and open-ended questions. They were mostly conducted with the families of the deceased, including parents and siblings, and on occasion were done with a single family member or friend. The time elapsed since the suicide ranged from 6 to 18 months. textbfResults. Psychological autopsies were helpful to interviewees in allowing them to find meaning in the suicide, to find purpose through their altruistic participation, to obtain psychological support, to experience connectedness with others, to accept the loss as real, and to gain insight into their functioning. Negative reactions to the interviews, albeit uncommon, are also briefly described. textbfConclusions. We recommend that interviewers receive preparatory training and ongoing supervision while conducting interviews, to assure a reflective and professional stance. ADOLESCENT JEUNE-ADULTE AUTOPSIE-PSYCHOLOGIQUE THÉRAPIE-FAMILLE DEUIL-SUICIDE BLÂME CULPABILITÉ EFFET-NÉGATIF ENDEUILLÉ FAMILLE COTE-Y

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