How Do Interpersonal Conflicts Contribute to Suicide Risk? A clinical and empirical discussion with Katie Lewis, PhD (Live)

February 17, 2023

Suicidal thoughts are known to fluctuate dramatically over time, presenting an ongoing challenge to clinicians and researchers alike. While supportive social relationships are known to help reduce risk over time, the short-term impact of interpersonal conflicts on suicide risk is less well understood. In this presentation, contemporary theories drawn from the realms of personality science and suicide prevention will be used as a foundation for understanding the role of implicit relational dynamics in suicide risk. The concepts of agency and communion will be explored as important dimensions that may help to predict the kinds of social situations in which suicidal thoughts will arise. Novel findings from a daily diary study of psychiatric patients enrolled in long-term psychoanalytic treatment will highlight the role of complementarity (versus discordance) in agency and communion between interaction partners as a potential signal of proximal suicide risk. The presentation will discuss treatment implications based on these findings and highlight future areas of inquiry.

Continuing Education information and details to follow. 

Target Audience

_________ Introductory     ___x____ Intermediate ________ Advanced 

Learning Objectives

  • Attendees will be able to describe patterns of agentic and communal complementarity in social interactions.
  • Attendees will be able to list at least three approaches to assessing suicidal ideation in daily life.
  • Attendees will be able to discuss communal behavior in daily life as a target of clinical intervention for suicidal individuals.
Course summary
Course opens: 
Course expires: 
Event starts: 
02/17/2023 - 12:50pm EST
Event ends: 
02/17/2023 - 1:50pm EST

Katie C. Lewis, PhD, is the director of research and medical staff member at the Austen Riggs Center. Her research focuses on examining personality processes in adults diagnosed with complex psychopathology as they relate to suicidal and self-destructive behaviors. Her research has been supported by the Robert Wallerstein Fellowship in Psychoanalytic Research (San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis), a Young Investigator Grant through the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, an Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant through the NIMH, and the APF/Division 39 Marsha McCary Grant for Psychoanalytic Research.

Austen Riggs Center Inc. confirms that Katie Lewis, PhD, nor anyone involved in the planning of the CME event, has disclosed a potential conflict of interest. 

The views and opinions expressed in this presentation are those of the presenter(s) and do not necessarily represent the official policy or position of the Austen Riggs Center. 


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