by Michael D. Anestis, M.S.
Over the past year or so, Thomas Joiner has been working on a book entitled Myths about Suicide that aims to debunk common misunderstandings about suicidal behavior. I have looked forward to the book's arrival for quite some time now, as it is aimed at the general public, thereby providing greater access to scientific information for a broader audience. PBB, after all, is based upon the premise that we need to stop hiding science in scientific journals and disseminate accurate information in order to help as many people as possible to better understand mental illness and the effective treatments that are available. My hope is that people will read this book and come to a better understanding of the nature, causes, and treatment of suicidal behavior.
Yesterday, Dr.Joiner sent out an email regarding the book and granted me permission to paste the text of his note on PBB. As a matter of disclosure, you should know that I am a doctoral student in Dr.Joiner's lab and have published a number of papers about suicide with him, so I am not unbiased in my praise for his theory and work. That being said, my positive view of the theory stems from empirical results, many of which we have detailed on this site, and not simply personal allegiance. Also, keep in mind that Dr.Joiner's book is in no way associated with PBB and neither Joye nor I will receive any compensation from its sales (other than referral fees should somebody order it through our site). Below is Dr.Joiner's note and the publisher's synopsis of his book.
I wanted to let you know about a new book I have out, a follow up to “Why People Die By Suicide,” called “Myths About Suicide.” The publisher is the same – Harvard University Press – the book is widely available from them as well as the usual places like amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.
A main goal of the book is to increase genuine understanding of suicidal behavior, and thereby increase compassion. I view increased understanding and compassion as helpful in many ways, including the two essential activities of preventing future deaths by suicide and aiding the bereaved in healing. I’ll paste below a brief summary of the book.
I hope you’ll mention the book to others who may be interested.
PUBLISHER’S SYNOPSIS: Around the world, more than a million people die by suicide each year. Yet many of us know very little about a tragedy that may strike our own loved ones—and much of what we think we know is wrong. This clear and powerful book dismantles myth after myth to bring compassionate and accurate understanding of a massive international killer. Drawing on a fascinating array of clinical cases, media reports, literary works, and scientific studies, Thomas Joiner demolishes both moralistic and psychotherapeutic clichés. He shows that suicide is not easy, cowardly, vengeful, or selfish. It is not a manifestation of "suppressed rage" or a side effect of medication. Threats of suicide, far from being idle, are often followed by serious attempts. People who are prevented once from killing themselves will not necessarily try again.
The risk for suicide, Joiner argues, is partly genetic and is influenced by often agonizing mental disorders. Vulnerability to suicide may be anticipated and treated. Most important, suicide can be prevented. An eminent expert whose own father's death by suicide changed his life, Joiner is relentless in his pursuit of the truth about suicide and deeply sympathetic to such tragic waste of life and the pain it causes those left behind.
If you would like to learn more about Dr.Joiner's theory of suicidal behavior, we recommend that you click on this link. Additionally, we recommend that you consult the following texts, each of which is available through our online store for scientifically-based psychological resources:
- Why People Die by Suicide
by Thomas Joiner
- Myths about Suicide
by Thomas Joiner
- The Interpersonal Theory of Suicide: Guidance for Working With Suicidal Clients
by Thomas Joiner, Kim Van Orden, Tracy Witte, and David Rudd
- Treating Suicidal Behavior: An Effective, Time-Limited Approach by David Rudd, Thomas Joiner, and Hasan Rajab