Life after a Partner's Suicide Attempt

Author(s) : Francis McGivern

Life after a Partner's Suicide Attempt

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Life After a Partner's Suicide Attempt is the first publication to document in depth the lived experiences of the partners of individuals who have attempted to take their own lives. Although no one has died, the ramifications are, nonetheless, life-changing and permanent. Research in suicidology has paid virtually no attention to these partners, other than to explore their role as caregiver. Based on a series of sensitively conducted interviews, Dr. McGivern proposes a psychotherapeutic pathway towards recovery through exploration of personal trauma, relationship injury, reactivation of adverse childhood experiences, ambiguous loss, boundary ambiguity, as well as post-traumatic growth. He highlights implications for psychotherapy training and research and makes recommendations for practice and policy.

Written with both the general reader and practitioners in mind, the author's goal is to share the extensive insights he has gained through his research and in doing so, to give voice to partners worldwide who silently endure the aftermath of their loved one's suicide attempt.

Reviews and Endorsements

When a person attempts suicide the world often falls in around their partners and families. Surprisingly this book is the first scholarly attempt to let partners speak about how that traumatic event impacted them. The stories told here reveal an often life-altering maelstrom of relief, grief, disbelief, doubt, care, exhaustion, exasperation, worry, loneliness, ongoing fear and roller-coaster love that requires huge resilience to navigate. Yet there is hope and help as Dr. McGivern's seminal work convincingly charts – opening up a neglected landscape for recognition and discussion.
Dr. Mary McAleese, President of Ireland 1997-2011; Professor of Children, Law & Religion, University of Glasgow; Chancellor, Trinity College Dublin

Francis McGivern is the first to apply the theory of ambiguous loss to understand and analyze the unimaginable stress experienced by the partners of those who attempt suicide… I highly recommend this book for clinicians and researchers who can now test these ideas for this new population and I thank Dr McGivern for his pioneering work in this new area of ambiguous loss.
Dr Pauline Boss, Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota

While suicide is still a rare event, suicide attempts and self-harm are not. Insufficient attention has been paid to the partners of those who attempt to end their lives. Dr McGivern is to be commended for bringing their needs to the fore. He proposes a recovery pathway for this hitherto neglected group. His book is sensitive and thoughtful, timely and therapeutic.
Professor James Lucey, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin

An impactful book for the millions who experience the trauma of being partnered with someone surviving a suicide attempt. Some relationships are irrevocably damaged, while for others, post-traumatic growth occurs. The inspiration McGivern provides enhances the chances of their suffering becoming a transformative experience and is, therefore, a very important contribution to the field.
Linda Bloom, LCSW, Psychotherapist at Bloomwork in California

Table of Contents

PART I: Giving Voice to Partners
1. The Inspiration for this Book: A Psychotherapy Session Like No Other
2. Suffering the Trauma of The Attempt: “It Put Nearly Ten Years on My Life”
3. Adjusting in the Wake of the Attempt: “It Shifted the Whole World on Its Axis”
4. The Legacy of the Attempt: “It Never Goes Away”

PART II: Impact and Recovery for Partners
5. Setting the Scene: What We Know About Attempted Suicide and Its Impact on Others
6. Charting the Transformative Impact on Partners
7. Offering a New Pathway of Care for Partners and Significant Others


About the Author(s)

Dr. Francis McGivern is a counselling psychologist chartered by the Psychological Society of Ireland. He works both in the public sector within a Higher Education Institute as well as running a small private practice. He has over 20 years’ experience providing psychotherapy to adults and adolescents.

Customer Reviews

Our customers have given this title an average rating of 5 out of 5 from 2 review(s), add your own review for this title.

Jane on 13/12/2022 08:00:54

Rating1Rating2Rating3Rating4Rating5 (5 out of 5)

As the partner of someone who has made multiple attempts on their life, I have struggled to find context for my conflicting feelings. I have felt overwhelmingly alone, because people who haven't experienced suicide don't know what to say, or how to help. Reading the accounts of partners like me has helped enormously, it has validated my feelings, and crucially, it has been a catalyst for change in my own recovery. Written with empathy and warmth, it is both relatable and accessible.

R.S on 21/01/2022 22:07:14

Rating1Rating2Rating3Rating4Rating5 (5 out of 5)

Eye-opening and inspiring. It sheds a light on what ACTUALLY going on for you after your partner's suicide attempt. An aspect of life that people don't talk about, this book motivates us to address the extraordinary hidden struggle partner's face. Highly recommended.

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