Since 2004 researchers at the University of Auckland, New Zealand and then at The Univeristy of Ottawa led by Dr Simon Hatcher, have investigated the use of problem solving therapy (PST) in the treatment of suicidal people as well as other chronic disorders. We completed three large randomised trials of problem solving therapy in people who presented to hospital with intentional self-harm. We found that people who received problem solving therapy were less likely to repeat self-harm if their initial presentation to hospital was not their first. Also in some groups it decreased their risk of presenting to the emergency department for other reasons over the next year.
Currently we are starting a cluster randomised trial of a blended problem solving therapy for suicidal men in Ontario. This uses a blend of face to face therapy and technology as the intervention. One of the questions we are asking is if this blend of treatments can be more than the sum of the parts.
The aim of this study was to determine whether the addition of PST to the usual care that people receive after presenting to a hospital emergency department following an episode of self harm would result in better outcomes for these people than usual care alone. People randomised to receive PST were offered a course of six to eight one hour face to face sessions of PST with one of the research therapists employed by our study.
Read more about Problem Solving Therapy: Workshop pre-reading