School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Suzie Johnson


Client Suicide, Spiritual Influence, Religious Influence, Personal and Professional Impact of Client Suicide, Phenomenological Study, Impact of Client Suicide


Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences


The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to understand the impact that client's suicide has on mental health professionals' lives, both personally and professionally. The study's central question was: What is the influence that spirituality/religions have on the impact experienced by mental health professionals after the death of their client by suicide? The theories that guided this study are Joiner’s interpersonal-psychological theory of suicide and Bowlby's attachment theory as it relates to grief and loss and the challenge to obtain support with an insecure attachment style; Sanders, Jacobson, and Ting's theory of the five phases of guilt experienced after a loss; Kouriatis and Brown's five stages of grief; and Higgings' self-discrepancy theory of shame and guilt. The study recruited six participants from mental health facilities and collected data through interviewed questions and an online questionnaire. Each participant was interviewed once. With the interviewees' permission, the interviews were videotaped and transcribed verbatim for analysis. The meanings from the experiences were group into themes based on shared commonalities. The analysis process, for example, reading through the participant's answers, continued until the interview questions were saturated with no new added viewpoint from the topic. The themes were later grouped into categories for further analysis. After the final report by the researcher, the data was provided to a qualitative researcher expert for review for bias, emerging themes and to offer investigator triangulation to provide a diverse perspective on the data analysis.

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