Dissertation Title:

Wounding the Healer: Suicide’s Quest for Voice


Daniel Ballin

Date, Time & Place:

March 15, 2022 at 9:00 am


This heuristic inquiry explores the therapist’s experience of a client’s suicide. Five clinician suicide loss survivors share their experiences, including how they responded to the initial news of the suicide, navigated workplace relationships, grieved the loss of the deceased, struggled with their professional narrative, and engaged in a healing process. Their experiences are presented in a narrative and analytical context. This writer also shares his experience with the phenomenon of suicide in his work at a homeless shelter for young adults. Participant experiences of loss are viewed through the lenses of traumatic grief and twin bereavement. A depth psychological perspective and the archetype of the wounded healer provide an interpretive framework for the experience of the clinician suicide loss survivor. This study encourages social service and mental health agencies to support therapists working with vulnerable populations at risk for suicide. Similarly, this dissertation advocates for including suicide postvention curricula in master-level counseling programs and continuing education for all mental health practitioners. Finally, the personification of suicide offers new perspectives on the therapist’s role in the aftermath of a client’s suicide. As part of this heuristic inquiry, the author created a digital story with images and phrases that the research participants provided.

  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology emphasis in Somatic Studies, S, 2015
  • Chair: Dr. Jeanne Schul
  • Reader: Dr. Lori Pye
  • External Reader: Dr. Nina Gutin
  • Keywords: Suicide, Clinician Survivor, Wounded Healer, Postvention, Archetype