Online training

Dealing with Distress: Working with Suicide and Self-Harm Online Training


Our default response to self-harm and suicidality is to think in terms of ‘risk’. But what if that approach in itself actually increases the risk? What if, instead, we thought in terms of reducing distress, and what if by doing that it in fact also reduced the risk?

This course looks at how to develop a collaborative – and kinder – approach to working with people in intense pain, and explains the fundamental but enlightening neuroscience behind both self-harm and suicide.

“Excellent – a whole new way of thinking when working with clients. Useful resources to share,  very clear and loved the personal story of Carolyn’s recovery. I feel much less anxious about working with high risk clients”

“I found this course so inspirational. It helped to give me clarification and a sense of therapeutic direction.  Carolyn’s struggle,  her traumatic experiences and most of all her authenticity gave a message of hope, particularly in not advocating a battle between life and death but a collaboration and acquisition of skills and a growth mindset to lessen often all consuming distress.”

“This has been a well paced and informative course. Carolyn has a wonderful way of being able to relate in to her thinking and understanding of her world and how to enable others from shifting towards a life deserved. I will be making sure the GP’s and Nurses I work with attend this training. Thank you so much!”

“Absolutely excellent! The best training on working with suicidal distress I’ve done.”

” Amazing – it has really challenged me to think about suicide and self-harm in a new way.”

“I was really impressed with the whole course & the overwhelmingly positive messages it left me with. I thought the whole course was very well researched, written & presented. I wasn’t looking forward to studying this course particularly, but feel better equipped, more confident & with more psychoeducation about the pathology, my role when working with distressed clients, & galvanised to work in a more ‘challenging’ way with some of my clients. Thank you, Carolyn.”


  • Available instantly upon purchase
  • 6 hours of CPD with certificate upon completion
  • Downloadable resources and additional reading for a comprehensive learning experience
  • Videos available to stream or also downloadable for offline viewing
  • Lifetime access
  • Start/stop and return as often as you like
  • Easy to use: only needs a web browser
  • Individual licence only: for multiple users and information about discounts for organisations, please click here.

‘Suicide is a calamity of the inner world, where feelings, memories, and beliefs may brew up hurricane winds of anguish powerful enough to blow someone away.’ – John Maltsberger.

After suicide, there are no second chances. We can’t go back and try a different, or better way, of supporting someone to see if that works instead.  We may have just the one chance to get it right, and none of us wants to get it wrong.

‘No one is killing themselves on my watch!’ we may vow. And yet a million people worldwide kill themselves each year. If a million people every year died as a result of terrorism, imagine the outcry, the public attention, the funding, and the need for a solution.

Research reveals a fair bit about the risk factors for suicide. But does that information enable us to predict with any accuracy whether our client, or our friend, or our family member will attempt to kill themselves?

This course looks at a variety of issues around self-harm and suicidality, specifically behaviours resulting from states of extreme distress linked to trauma. The aim of the course is to build your confidence in working with or supporting people who are severely distressed, and to equip you to work as effectively as possible to promote recovery and healing from this distress, so that self-harm and suicide are no longer seen as ‘the only way out’. I look at questions such as:

  • How can you tell if someone is imminently suicidal – is it even possible? – and what should you then do about it?
  • How can we help someone who is suicidal without getting stuck in a battle between life and death?
  • Is someone suicidal ‘mentally ill’, and do they have ‘mental capacity’?
  • Why do some people self-harm? Is it just ‘attention-seeking’? In what way might it make sense at a neurobiological level?
  • Does self-harm increase or decrease the risk of completed suicide?
  • Do policies to prevent suicide actually work, or might they actually be increasing the risk?
  • How can we help people who are in severe distress without them becoming too ‘dependent’?
  • Does hospitalisation work, or does it make things worse?
  • What can we actually DO to help people feel better?

This course, aimed principally at counsellors and psychotherapists, but also suitable for a wide range of professionals and indeed anyone supporting survivors of trauma, looks at how to work safely and effectively with self-harm and suicide: to cope with crisis and deal with distress. It is based on the latest theory and neuroscience research, alongside my own narrative of numerous suicide attempts, what helped and what didn’t.

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