Survivors of Suicide Loss: Psychotherapists and Professional Communities

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Program Type

The suicide of a patient may have a complex impact on psychotherapist survivors, training programs, and organizations. Understanding the prevalence of patient suicide in training contexts and beyond may help clinicians, training directors, supervisors, and administrators anticipate the wide array of reactions and to develop a plan for responding at the level of the individual, the group, and the organization.

Psychotherapists who are survivors of suicide loss in the context of a family member may find that work with suicidal patients evokes particular feelings that can be both useful and, at times, complicate the therapeutic process. We will discuss suicide loss in a broad context, and in the specific context of the death of a patient  by suicide. The results of a research project which studied therapists who had a patient die by suicide will be presented along with pragmatic ways to respond to the suicide of patient.

Learning Objectives

  1. Describe prevalence of suicide in the USA in relation to suicide survivors
  2. Identify common reactions of therapists to the suicide of a patient.
  3. Summarize experiences specific to suicide survivors.
  4. Give examples of helpful responses to colleagues losing a patient to suicide.

Part of the Professional Vulnerability: Dread, Hope and Resilience Seminar Series.

Seminar Information


December 2, 2022


2:00 pm-5:00 p.m. EST


Online, live via Zoom




$75 – General Admission
$50 – Derner Alum, Adelphi faculty/clinical supervisor, Non-Adelphi psychoanalytic Candidate/student
$25 – Derner student/Postgraduate candidate

Registration will close 48 hours prior to the start of the event.


Jane Tillman, Ph.D., ABPP

Jane G. Tillman, PhD, ABPP is the Evelyn Stefansson Nef Director of the Erikson Institute for Education and Research of the Austen Riggs Center. A psychologist and psychoanalyst, she is an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Yale Child Study Center, a Teaching Associate in the Department of Psychiatry at the Cambridge Hospital Alliance. Dr. Tillman has a longstanding research interest in suicide.


Amira Simha-Alpern, Ph.D., ABPP

Amira Simha-Alpern, Ph.D., ABPP, is the Director of Postgraduate Programs at the Derner School of Psychology at Adelphi University.

Case Presentation

Elizabeth B. Sullivan, LCSW

Elizabeth B. Sullivan, LCSW is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She is an Advanced Candidate at the Postgraduate Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy at the Derner School of Psychology and a Doctoral Student at The Institute for Clinical Social Work. She is the Treasurer of the Adelphi Society for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. Ms. Sullivan is a volunteer clinician at HealthRight International conducting clinical evaluations for survivors of torture, abuse, and neglect seeking asylum in the United States. She maintains a private practice in Garden City, NY.

Credentialing Information

Adelphi University is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Adelphi University maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Adelphi University, Derner School of Psychology, is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Psychology as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychologists #PSY-0024 and by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0607 and by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors #MHC-0185 and by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed marriage and family therapists #MFT-0083.

Disclaimer Statement

This continuing education seminar, seminar instructor/s, and the Postgraduate Programs as the seminar’s sponsor, receive no commercial support for the content of instruction (e.g., research grants funding research findings etc.), or benefit for endorsement of products (e.g., books, training, drugs, etc.) that are known to present a conflict of interest.

Cancellation Policy

Full refunds are issued for cancellations made up to 7 working days before the event. Cancellations of less than 7 days for any reason, or no-shows are not refunded. Credit towards a future event/workshop are issued for cancellations less than 7 days and up to 24 hours before the event. No credit is issued for cancellations less than 24 hours before the events or no-shows.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Adelphi University require that all events be accessible. To request a reasonable accommodation, please contact the event host identified on the event webpage; please allow for a reasonable time frame. The event host, when necessary, will collaborate with the Student Access Office.

Program Contacts

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Hy Weinberg Center, 220
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