‘The Suicide Attempt of a Seven Year Old Boy: An Exploration of Precipitating and Protective Factors’

Prof Doc Thesis

Thomas, Louis 2016. ‘The Suicide Attempt of a Seven Year Old Boy: An Exploration of Precipitating and Protective Factors’. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust https://doi.org/10.15123/PUB.5553
AuthorsThomas, Louis
TypeProf Doc Thesis

This research is a retrospective single-case-study analysis of an intensive child psychotherapy treatment begun with a seven year old boy called ‘C’, referred to specialist CAMHS for severe depression following a suicide attempt. The research question concerns itself with the identification of precipitating and protective factors surrounding this event and the design of a method by which to do so.
The method designed for this purpose is: the ‘4 Column Method’: influenced by ‘grounded theory’, ‘complexity theory’ and ‘psychoanalytic observation’, suitable for identifying naturalistic patterns and themes hidden within spontaneously occurring psychoanalytic data sets and allowing transference affects to be systematically tracked.
The research has resulted in the identification of six Core Variables whose developments impact upon one another. Notable is that of an inverse co-relation between an increase in the core variable ‘Developmental Thinking’ paralleling a decrease in the expression of non-developmental Core Variables: ‘Uncontained Aggression’, ‘Primitive Anxiety’ and a powerful sense of relational ambivalence: ‘Equivocal Object’.
Identifying the role of frequency in the therapist’s response during a process of transforming non-developmental Core Variables into those that support Developmental Thinking has also been important, as too: the making of tentative links between C’s expressed internal experience with his experience of his external world which helped guide him through an ‘encaptive conflict’ (Gardner 2001:12), and assisted in the corrective re-organisation of C’s experience of a fractured reality (Anderson et al 2012).
Another key finding to be identified within this research is the connection between experiences of early trauma, domestic violence and the expression of suicidal concerns.

KeywordsSuicide; Children
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/PUB.5553
Publication dates
PrintSep 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited25 Jan 2017
Publisher's version
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