Surviving Client Suicide: The Invisible Burden of Two Clinicians


  • Mark A. Dixon Mark A. Dixon
  • Benjamin S. Tam


coping skills, grief , reflection, client suicide , postvention


This narrative recounts the experience of two social workers who lost a client to suicide. Initial reactions included mind racing, a sense of failure, efforts at distraction and a degree of emotional turmoil. Through sharing two independent stories, the authors hope to impart insight gained from experience and prepare both new and experienced social workers as they treat high risk clients. The healing process is one which includes asking the hard question, reflection, acceptance, and finding interpersonal resolution. This article is not intended to be a comprehensive model or one-size-fits-all type of prescription, but rather an opportunity to explore this difficult experience and begin a more robust conversation within the profession.

Author Biography

Mark A. Dixon, Mark A. Dixon

Active Duty Officer (USAF), Lieutenant Colonel

PhD Graduate, VCU





How to Cite

Dixon, M. A., & Tam, B. S. (2023). Surviving Client Suicide: The Invisible Burden of Two Clinicians. Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping, 28(3), 20–34. Retrieved from



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