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Warning: Suicide
Jan 25, 2014

The Background
Suicide, suicide attempts, and suicidal ideation are a tremendous problem for both the client and the therapist. In the US, about half of the therapists will have a client commit suicide and die during care; and about half of these therapists will also have a second client suicide. Several organizations around the world teach the public (and therapists) how to recognize suicidal people, and what actions to take to try and help them.

The Trigger for Suicide
To our surprise, our research work has uncovered what looks like the primary (and probably only) cause for suicidal feelings and actions. It turns out that life events, or various types of therapies, can trigger the person into suicide. This occurs because the person has accessed placental death trauma from their birth memories. These memories are often very strong, partly because of current standard birthing practices that cut the baby's umbilical cord too quickly, creating a huge PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) level trauma. When these memories are triggered, the person's present day awareness is flooded with the feelings they experienced at birth.

The reason that this event triggers suicide is because of the nature of the birth process itself. For the baby to be born, the placenta has to die - and this biological imperative is imprinted into the trauma experience. When triggered in the present, the client has the strong feeling that they have to die; not realizing that these feelings are coming from the past. This can be demonstrated on most people who are feeling suicidal by having them touch their belly button while feeling the urge to die. They immediately realize that the sensations are only radiating from their navel; many then say "I don't want to die, my navel wants to die!" This can be a tremendous and immediate relief for suicidal clients.

Because suicide feelings are due to placental death trauma, it can manifest in several ways. Typically there is a lot of emotional distress with the impulse to suicide, both from the birthing event and from their current life response to the problem. But some people trigger this birth memory, and it did not have much emotional content. In this latter case, the person involved will
calmly go ahead and try and kill themselves as if it is the most natural thing to do; and may plan ahead to try and outwit people they think might want to stop them.

The Problem of Therapy
Life circumstances are the usual trigger for suicide traumas becoming activated. Unfortunately, therapy of almost any type can also act as a trigger to these suicide-causing placental death birth traumas by accident. Regression therapy can also trigger this problem during a session, but has the advantage that a trained therapist can notice that the client has triggered a birth memory and watch for this problem. Because most therapists do not understand the placental trauma cause of suicide, most therapies do not teach about this problem or what to do if it occurs. However, all therapies could watch for triggering these traumas if they knew it even existed.

There are two main issues with trying to treat suicidal feelings. Although the main suicide trauma occurs during the cord cutting event (due to the current medical practice of cutting the umbilical cord far too soon), for many people there are usually many other traumas that also contain the suicidal impulse. This occurs because the birth event takes quite a while, and the placental need to die can be coupled into many trauma moments during birth. For example, one person had the impulse to hang themselves; this was due to the placental death feeling getting connected to the traumatic birth experience of having the umbilical cord wrapped around the baby's neck
in utero. This is a huge problem for treatment, because the therapist can heal the presenting trauma, making the client feel far better and more energized. But later, perhaps hours or days, their life circumstances keep triggering these birth events (for example, due to a divorce) and the client now has the energy and motivation to kill themselves from a trauma that was not even visible during treatment.

For these reasons, a trauma therapist who works with suicidal birth trauma has to exercise extreme caution to make sure that the client will not kill themselves during or after treatment of the presenting problem. This can be done, but needs to be done in the appropriate physical settings - treatment via phone is unsafe. In emergency situations, having the client touch the navel to localize the suicidal sensations is often successful. Emergency treatment on the phone can also be successful IF the client is in a situation where there are people who can monitor the client 24/7 for about two weeks, and are aware that the problem can return and actually be even worse, because the client now feels more energized and able to act.

Some clients have suicidal thoughts but are
not suicidal. This can be quite confusing to these clients, because they have no suicidal desires or sensations in their body. Instead of having an activated placental death trauma, they are hearing a ‘voice’ that is saying suicidal things. Of course, any given client may have both the 'voice' problem and the suicidal feelings from placental death trauma - therapists must check for both problems to ensure the safety of their clients.

Working with suicidal clients requires formal training for the therapist and available, continuous support for the client. Conventional training, such as ‘Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training’ (ASIST) is necessary so the therapist can recognize signs of this problem and understands the legal ramifications.

The long-term solution to the epidemic of suicide in Western countries is both simple and something that families can immediately do to safeguard their children - do NOT let the hospital staff cut the umbilical cord immediately after birth. Cutting the cord about 20 minutes after birth appears to be adequate; longer can be better (see the technique called '
lotus birth'). These children won't usually have the burden of being triggered into suicidal feelings later in life unless they had earlier perinatal birth traumas that also coupled to the placental death impulse.

The other reason to not cut the cord immediately has to do with the child's mental health. When the cord remains uncut for significant amounts of time, the child will typically (in about 4 out of 5 births) retain a peak state we call 'wholeness', making the child (and later the adult) far more mentally healthy than normal.


  • Therapeutic and Legal Issues for Therapists Who Have Survived a Client Suicide: Breaking the Silence (2005) by Kayla Miriyam Weiner
  • "Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training" (ASIST)
  • The Basic Whole-Hearted Healing™ Manual, 3rd ed. (2004) by Grant McFetridge PhD and Mary Pellicer MD (pgs 121-122)
  • Lotus Birth: Leaving the Umbilical Cord Intact, 2nd ed. (2013) by Shivam Rachana
  • "Effects of Delayed Cord Clamping on 4-Month Ferritin Levels, Brain Myelin Content, and Neurodevelopment: A Randomized Controlled Trial", Journal of Pediatrics, Dec 2018. Summary article from the US National Institutes of Health entitled "Science Update: Delayed cord clamping may benefit infant brain development, NIH-funded study finds" Feb 2019.

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Revision History
Jan 25, 2014: Added an entry on suicide.