Understanding Suicide's Allure
Steps to Save Lives by Healing Psychological Scars
by Stanley Krippner, Linda Riebel, Debbie Joffe Ellis, and Daryl S. Paulson
January 2021, 343pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-6254-0
$65, £50, 57€, A90
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eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6255-7
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In 2016, suicide was the second leading cause of death in the United States for people ages 10 to 34, and the fourth leading cause of death for people ages 35 to 54.

This book explains why suicide can be alluring to a person aiming to stop his or her traumatic pain—whether its source is bullying, sexual assault, war combat, or other PTSD-invoking events—and details approaches that can prevent suicide.

Suicide has been a taboo topic in Western culture. The mere mention of suicide sparks reactive responses that include medical, moral, spiritual, and religious debates. As a result, the authors open an important discussion here, offering an honest and non-judgmental examination of the many aspects involved in the nature of suicide, explaining that above all, people need to learn how to support those struggling with suicidal thoughts or to intercept their own suicidal thinking. The book also includes an extensive review and evaluation of the many available mental health treatments.

Special consideration is given to military suicides. U.S. soldier suicides exceed one per day and continue to rise in all military branches, while veteran suicide rates are even higher, averaging 17 per day. Communities, families, veterans, and service members are in need of tools and insights for coping with, navigating, and exposing the suicidal attitudes affecting many current and former members of the military.


  • Incorporates academic research, media coverage, and the authors' personal experiences
  • Includes topics associated with forms of suicide not widely addressed in other books, including evolutionary psychology, traumatic brain injury, prescription drug side-effects, and shamanism
  • Addresses suicide in the general population as well as within the cadre of some of the nation's newest veterans—those who served in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars
Stanley Krippner, PhD, is a member of the American Association of Suicidology and the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation. He has coedited or coauthored five books on trauma, including Integrated Care for the Traumatized: A Whole-Person Approach. He is a fellow of the Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict and Violence, and the 2002 recipient of the American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Advancement of International Psychology.

Linda Riebel, PhD, is on the faculty of Saybrook University, and conducted a psychotherapy practice in San Francisco and Berkeley for 25 years, specializing in eating disorders, anxiety, and depression. Author of many professional journal articles and six books, and a contributor to the third edition of the Encyclopedia of Creativity (2020), she lost a nephew to suicide.

Debbie Joffe Ellis, PhD, is on the adjunct faculty at Columbia University Teachers College, where she teaches Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and Comparative Psychotherapies. Her most recent book is the second edition of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (2019).

Daryl S. Paulson, PhD, is a decorated Vietnam combat veteran, a counselor specializing in trauma-associated disorders, and president/CEO of BioScience Laboratories, Inc., with advanced degrees in microbiology, statistics, counseling, human science, and psychology. Dr. Paulson is the author of numerous articles and 14 books.


"Engaging, insightful, and crucially important, Understanding Suicide's Allure is Stanley Krippner and his co-authors at their very best. Their combined decades of research and profound expertise in the human condition deepen our understanding of this difficult and nuanced topic."—Christopher Ryan, PhD, New York Times best-selling author

"Suicide is one of the most shocking events on the canvas of human existence. It often comes as a surprise not just to loved ones, but to healthcare professionals as well. In Understanding Suicide's Allure, Krippner and colleagues disclose the known facts surrounding suicide, which are substantial—and which, if acknowledged, could greatly diminish the frequency of this tragic event. Understanding Suicide's Allure is a landmark book in our understanding of suicide and will be of inestimable value to professionals and laypersons alike. This remarkable book is, in short, a lifesaver."—Larry Dossey, MD, author of One Mind: How Our Individual Mind Is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why It Matters

Understanding Suicide's Allure is an excellent new resource for dealing with this tragic human dilemma. Krippner and colleagues bring their considerable collective wisdom to an accessibly written volume backed by research and clinical experience. It clearly describes approaches ranging from Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and PTSD nightmare rescripting to physiologic relaxation procedures and relevant medications. This book will be equally helpful for clinicians and for suicidal individuals and their families. Highly recommend!” —Deirdre Barrett, author of Pandemic Dreams
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