Ian Barron*, Joan Hodgkiss, Andrew Torres, Zachary Santana, Michael Krezmien
This study aims to promote research into the Teaching Recovery Techniques (TRT) program as part of suicide prevention in secure residential facilities. TRT, based on cognitive behavioral theory, addresses the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, arguably a driving force underpinning suicidal behavior. The case study involved a program worker and her suicidal 15-year-old female client, who, prior to TRT, presented with daily self-harm and suicidal ideation, and frequent suicidal attempts. A qualitative design involved two 45-minute semi-structured interviews, with the program worker and adolescent, at three months post-treatment. A 6-step quasi-qualitative systematic analysis was used to identify the codes of meaning, their frequency, and the themes from participants’ statements. An independent female researcher provided a measure of inter-rater reliability. Following TRT, self-harm, suicidal ideation, and suicidal attempts ceased and the adolescent was moved from a secure residential facility to a foster placement. Only one relapse occurred in the 3-month follow-up period. Both adolescent and program worker perceived TRT to have had a significant contribution towards change. The adolescent emphasized the importance of a trusting relationship while the program worker emphasized that TRT needed to be delivered within a suicide aware environment. Future research needs to utilize rigorous experimental designs to evaluate TRT for at risk adolescents in secure residential facilities.