Read my summary below about CCT – Suicide Therapy
taken from an article I wrote after attending a Contextual-Conceptual Therapy (CCT) Level One Training workshop
with Fredric Matteson, James Hayes, & Catherine Hobson in Cork, Ireland in November 2015.
The thrust of the CCT Level One Training workshop was that suicide is not something we need to medicalise and
try ‘to get rid of’. Instead, we need to go where the person is – where they are trapped. The client themselves
directs us there, through their metaphoric language – their words/pictures/signals, and we, the therapist, need
to hear, see and follow these, rather than ignore or treat them (the signals) as ‘madness’.
In CCT, suicide is seen as an identity crisis. The person is struggling between their two ‘selves’ – who they are
trying not to be (who think they are, as in the ‘bad’ person) and who they are trying to be (the ‘perfect’ or ‘good person).
But the reality is that neither is the TRUTH – they are based on intrapersonal views of what they believe to be their self.
The suicidal person is caught between these two states yet neither of these states are real – they are both part of
the false self, the ‘you’. The person struggles between these two and at some point finds this impossible to live
with. It is this that drives the person to want to kill their ‘self’, or what they believe to be their self.
What the person at this point is unable to see (and likewise, neither the family nor the clinicians – thus the
“blindspot” from which the “blindsiding” happens) is that this “struggle” is with the split, or bifurcated, self and
that their TRUE self is hidden beneath this struggle out of view. So when suicidal persons talk of feeling ‘lost’,
‘trapped’, ‘stuck’, or ‘being on another planet’ – they actually do experience this TRUTH but they are initially
unaware of the context that they are operating in. That is why suicide is seen as the only solution – ‘the only way out’.
The suicidal person needs to understand the context they are operating in before they can understand the actual problem.
The beauty of this model is that it works with metaphors, myth and creativity to challenge the false self and
welcome back the TRUE self. Mythologist Daniel Deardorff, writing about Matteson’s work in “Suicide’s
Untarnished Twin: The Paradox of Self & Soul”, says that when looking at the traditional cultures and initiation
rites of passage, an elder guides the person into this area of the paradox – of the messy, dangerous, dark area –
not ‘away’ from it; and through the person going into this place, a transformation happens and ‘re-birth’ occurs.
This can be seen through other modalities where rituals and more traditionally cultural methods are drawn on,
but which has not been brought into the health services of western cultures in regards to suicide.
So with the CCT model, the therapist does just this. Rather than trying to steer the person away from the pain,
distress, suicide through soothing or sedation, the CCT therapist listens carefully to the person and goes into this
confusion with them. Through entering into this confusion, the therapist works alongside the person both
challenging and welcoming them. In the process, the limited false self “dies” / is transformed and the true self is reborn.
Visit Fredric Matteson’s website: www.SuicideTherapy.com or email Fredric: Fredric@SuicideTherapy.com
Creative, gifted, and warm-hearted, Gitti Maas (Dip.Couns, pre-accredited member IACP),
the CCT associate in Ireland is an integrative-humanistic counsellor.
In her work, Gitti draws mainly from the theories of Gestalt, Existential,
and Person-Centred-Therapies, integrating elements of Mindfulness and Meditation.
In her counselling practice in Kenmare, Co. Kerry, she provides
a safe environment, trusting relationship, support, and warmth to her clients.
Phone: 086 – 40 10 738
Address: Stone Arch Centre, Shelbourne St, Kenmare, Co Kerry, Ireland
Visit Gitti’s website: gittimaascounselling.com