right to suicide
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marsha linehan
dialectical behavior therapy
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The Right to Suicide

 by Patty E. Fleener M.S.W.

 

Now I want to comment on a very important subject, which is suicide. 

I was surfing the net earlier today and found a horrible website that discussed borderline personality disorder. I think they are trying to sell something as well.

Anyway, they state that Marsha Linehan Ph. D., author of Dialectical Behavior Therapy, states the following:

"Clients have a right to kill themselves, but if they ever convince the therapist that suicide is imminent they may be locked up."

Now be careful here. Just because this site says this is so doesn't mean Dr. Linehan really said or believes this. My comment on this has nothing to do with Dr. Linehan.

My comments to all of you is NO, clients do NOT have a right to kill themselves and I'll tell you why and I have a reason for telling you this.

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When anyone is actively suicidal or experiencing suicidal ideation, they are not themselves. Their disorder(s) have their real selves, their authentic selves buried as the symptoms of the disorder(s) are very strong at that time. So it is not the real person making that decision to end their life. It is a person experiencing a great deal of emotional pain, and the symptoms of mental health disorders severely. 

Now our authentic selves want to live. We want to grow old and see our grandchildren, get married, go out to that fancy restaurant, fall I in love, fall in love again with our partner, see our child in Europe, etc. We want to experience the beauty and wonder of life because it is still there. It has not gone away. You just cannot see it or feel it as (now imagine this in your head) you are covered with a dark blanket of something called "mental health disorder(s)." This includes depression. 

Imagine if you will a pond. The pond is black and ugly. But you find that it is only that way at the top of the pond. The pond itself is bright and healthy blue, beautiful blue. All you have to do is push aside the blackness on the top. This is how it is with you. 

If you are suicidal I believe you do not have the right to end your life because you have lost control of making rational decisions for yourselves sometime back. When that happens, another person must step in and make sure that your life does not come to an end and that you receive proper treatment so that you can become your authentic self again, making your own decisions.

So, it is not only wise, it is necessary to seek help if you are feeling suicidal. Your view of the world is skewed. As I always say, you are viewing the world through depressed eyes, not the eyes of reality. 



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Visit Mental Health Matters for information and articles. Get help to find a therapist or list your practice; and Psych Forums for message boards on a variety of MH topics.

 

Related Books

Suicide:  Right or Wrong?

Rational Suicide?: Implications For Mental Health Professionals: Implications for Mental Health Professionals

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