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Institute Inbrief - 13/02/2018


Welcome to Edition 285 of Institute Inbrief! In this edition’s featured article we explore ten characteristics that are commonly associated with completed suicide.


Also in this edition:

  • Helping and Stress Management
  • MBCT: A Look at the Mechanisms of Action
  • Helping Clients with Sleep Issues
  • Social Media Updates & Much More!

Enjoy your reading!





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Diploma of Counselling


Imagine Being Passionate About Your Work

And Assisting People Every Day Lead Better Lives


It’s rare these days to hear people talk about their work with true passion. You hear so many stories of people working to pay the bills; putting up with imperfect situations; and compromising on their true desires. That’s why it’s always so refreshing to hear regular stories from graduates living their dream to be a Counsellor. They’re always so full of energy, enthusiasm and passion. There’s no doubt that counselling is one of the most personally rewarding and enriching professions.


Just imagine someone comes to you for assistance. They’re emotionally paralysed by events in their life. They can’t even see a future for themselves. They can only focus on their pain and grief. The despair is so acute it pervades their entire life. Their relationship is breaking down and heading towards a divorce. They can’t focus on work and are getting in trouble with their boss. They feel they should be able to handle their problems alone, but know they can’t. It makes them feel helpless, worthless. Their self-esteem has never been lower. They’re caught in a cycle of destruction and pain.


Now imagine you have the knowledge and skills to help this person overcome their challenges. You assist to relieve their intense emotional pain. You give them hope for the future. You assist to rebuild their self-esteem and lead a satisfying, empowered life. As a Counsellor you can experience these personal victories every day. And it’s truly enriching. There is nothing more fulfilling than helping another person overcome seemingly impossible obstacles.


You can learn more here:



AIPC’s Community Services Courses


Helping You Help Your Community!


We’ve helped people from all sorts of backgrounds become counsellors, and now we can assist you in fulfilling your goal of working within the Community Services sector! AIPC is delivering the following two new courses:


Diploma of Community Services (Case Management) – learn more


Diploma of Youth Work – learn more


There has never been a better time for you to become involved and invested in the Community Services industries. It is predicted, between the years of 2015 to 2019, that employment within the Health Care and Social Assistance industries will increase by 18.7% (, 2015).


By gaining a qualification in Community Services (Case Management) or Youth Work, you will be contributing to an industry that serves a very important purpose: to assist those with personal or relationship challenges. There is nothing more fulfilling than helping others overcome seemingly impossible obstacles. And there’s no better time to do that than now!


To learn more about these programs, visit


AIPC courses:


Diploma of Counselling


Diploma of Financial Counselling


Diploma of Community Services (Case Management)


Diploma of Youth Work


Bachelor of Counselling


Master of Counselling



Common Elements of Suicide


A leading authority on suicide, psychologist Edwin S. Shneidman (1918-2009), described ten characteristics that are commonly associated with completed suicide. While he noted that no single explanation can account for all self-destructive behaviour, the following list includes frequently-occurring features that may help us to get a handle on what suicide is often about to the suicidal.


We have re-interpreted Dr. Shneidman’s ten characteristics into a mnemonic to help you remember them. The acronym is C O P P I N G O U T, as follows:


Constriction is the cognitive state.

Oblivion is the goal: the cessation of consciousness.

Psychological pain is the stimulus.

Purpose is to seek a solution.

Intention is communicated interpersonally beforehand.

Needs are frustrated.

Getting out – escaping – is the desired action.

Overriding emotion is hopelessness-helplessness.

Underlying attitude is ambivalence.

Time-worn coping patterns are again employed.


Let’s unpack those a little bit.


Constriction is the cognitive state


A person thinking of dying by suicide often has a rigid and narrow pattern of cognition: like tunnel vision. Rather than engaging in problem-solving behaviours, the person tends to see his or her options in extreme, all-or-nothing terms. The person’s cognitive state is not conducive to good decision-making.


Oblivion is the goal: the cessation of consciousness


Rather than continue to be obsessed with hugely distressing thoughts, the person who would die by suicide seeks the end of conscious experience. Suicide appears to offer oblivion.


Psychological pain is the stimulus


Suicidal people feel intense and excruciating emotions of guilt, shame, sadness, anger, and fear, often arising from multiple sources, and it is the pain of these that motivates the desire to suicide.


Purpose is to seek a solution


When people find themselves in an unbearable situation, suicide may appear to be a preferable solution to continuing in the dire circumstances. Emotional distress and/or physical disability may be feared by the person more than death. Perpetrators of criminal acts about to be caught by authorities have sometimes preferred suicide (such as by jumping in front of a train or shooting themselves) to facing justice and a life behind bars (or possibly being executed by the death penalty). Whatever the horrific situation, suicide is not a random or pointless act; it is an answer to a seemingly insolvable problem.


Intention is what is communicated interpersonally


One of the most dangerous misconceptions about suicide is the idea that people who really want to kill themselves don’t talk about it. Schneidman estimates that in at least 80 per cent of completed suicides, people have communicated their lethal intentions to others, usually by telling people about their plans, but also by behavioural means (more on pre-suicide behaviours later).


Needs are frustrated


Frustrated psychological needs make someone more vulnerable to suicidal ideation. People who have very high standards and expectations can feel especially disappointed when progress towards their goals is thwarted. If they attribute the failure or disappointment to their own shortcomings, they may come to see themselves as worthless, unlovable, or incompetent: a perfect set-up for suicide. For young people, particularly, career/employment issues, family conflict, and other interpersonal frustrations can precipitate suicide. Similarly, studies have found that, in periods of high unemployment, suicide rates go up (Yang, B., Motohashi, Y., & Lester, D., 1992).


Getting out – escaping – is the desired action


Suicide seems to provide a way out of painful self-awareness and/or intolerable circumstances: a definite way out.


Overriding emotion is hopelessness-helplessness


Even more central to predicting suicidal behaviour than intense negative emotions (such as fear, anger, or sadness), is the pervasive sense that the future is hopeless, and that no one can do anything to help. Pessimism breeds suicide.


Underlying attitude is ambivalence


For all the intensity of negative emotion and sincere desire to die, however, there is simultaneously in most suicides an equally strong wish to find a way out of the dilemma. Thus, suicide contemplation is about intense ambivalence. The skilled therapist can tap into this ambivalence, helping the person to swing to the “want to find a way out of the dilemma” pole.


Time-worn coping patterns are again employed


Not surprisingly, people thinking about killing themselves generally use the same patterns of thought and ways of coping to deal with the current crisis as they have always used. If someone is habitually a loner, refusing to ask others for help or believing that no one can help, that person is likely to act from a stance of isolation in the lead-up to the suicide as well (Oltmanns & Emery, n.d.).




Oltmanns, T.F. & Emery, R.E. (undated). Understanding suicide – common elements. From Survivors of Suicide site. Retrieved on 21 March, 2012 from:


Yang, B., Motohashi, Y., & Lester, D. (1992). The impact of the economy on suicide and homicide rates in Japan and the United States. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, December, 1992, 38 (4) 314-317. Retrieved on 21 March, 2012 from Doi: 10.1177/002076409203800411.


AIPC courses:


Diploma of Counselling


Diploma of Financial Counselling


Diploma of Community Services (Case Management)


Diploma of Youth Work


Bachelor of Counselling


Master of Counselling


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Helping and Stress Management


Stress is any pressure, demand, or threat placed on an organism (say, a human being) that causes a need to re-establish balance or “equilibrium”. The Oxford Dictionary online adds that stress is “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.” In this article, we look at stress management from the perspective of a helper: that is, anyone who is currently providing emotional or psychological support to a friend, client or loved one. Hence, the concepts outlined apply to therapists as well as people without any specific counselling or mental health training.


Click here to continue reading this article.



MBCT: A Look at the Mechanisms of Action


Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a psychological therapy designed to help prevent the relapse of depression, especially for those individuals who have Major Depressive Disorder (the principal type of depressive disorder defined by the DSM-5). MBCT employs traditional CBT methods and adds in mindfulness and mindfulness meditation strategies. In this article, we explore the mechanisms behind MBCT’s effectiveness in helping prevent relapse of depression.


Click here to continue reading this article.


More articles:



Learn from Global Mental Health Experts


Mental Health Academy puts quality learning by global experts at your fingertips, 24/7. Accessing cutting-edge evidence and practice-based knowledge has never been more convenient.


Topics explored by MHA courses include: Evidence-based therapies, mindfulness, CBT, focussed psychological strategies, children & adolescents, relationship counselling, motivational interviewing, depression & anxiety, addictions, trauma, e-therapy, supervision, ethics, plus much more.


Join MHA now to enjoy:

  • Access to on-demand, video learning (100+ hours)
  • Access to self-paced, text courses (120+ courses)
  • Invitations to select events and Masterclasses
  • Earn professional development points/hours
  • Online, 24/7 access to courses - from anywhere
  • Personalised online classroom to facilitate learning
  • New programs released every month

By learning with MHA, you’ll also make a real, measurable contribution to some of the world’s poorest communities (through MHA’s local and global social impact initiatives).


Learn more here:



Have you visited Counselling Connection yet? There are hundreds of interesting posts including case studies, profiles, success stories, videos and much more. Make sure you too get connected (and thank you for those who have already submitted comments and suggestions).


Helping Clients with Sleep Issues


Sleep plays a crucial role throughout our lives in helping to protect physical, mental, and emotional health; quality of life; and safety. How we feel when we are awake depends partly on what happens while we are sleeping, with damage from sleep deficiency causing not only daytime tiredness, but also interference with work, school, social functioning, and driving.


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AIPC courses:


Diploma of Counselling


Diploma of Financial Counselling


Diploma of Community Services (Case Management)


Diploma of Youth Work


Bachelor of Counselling


Master of Counselling


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