Suicide Therapy – An Interview with James Hayes

SUICIDE Therapy - An Interview with James Hayes
By Krysta Gibson | New Spirit Journal

This fascinating New Spirit Journal interview with James Hayes explores a different understanding and approach to suicide: a spiritually-based therapy which helps people reconnect with their own spirit.

James Hayes - CCT Seattle

James Hayes - CCT Seattle

Suicide Therapy is is based on the work of Fredric Matteson, Suicidologist. A mental health counselor for 35 years and trained by Matteson, James Hayes explains that suicide itself is not the problem. “It is the smoke off the fire. We’re talking about someone’s answer to an unknown problem. We have to separate the smoke from the fire. We’re trying to put context to someone else’s problem. If a building is burning down and the firemen show up and they blow all the smoke out of the way and then leave, have they solved the problem?” 

Many times we believe depression is the problem but he says that the issue is not always depression. We can find situations where people who were never depressed and never had any mental health problems commit suicide. 

This work, he says, is ”… all based on the patient’s information and their giving this information in a context where they can understand what they’re saying. The patient speaks in codes, in metaphor. If the person listening takes it literally, then the patient is going to look pretty messed up. They are trying to tell us what the problem is and what they need but if we take that information literally then we’re going to miss what they are saying to us.”

He continues, “They have to get to a place where they can say ‘I don’t know.’ They do know the answer but need help getting there. They don’t know what they know! They’ve deceived themselves and you can’t get out of deception on your own.” 

James adds “There’s an identity crisis where they do not know who they are. It’s an identity crisis where they became something they aren’t to protect something they are. They lose contact with their true self and become confident in the false self. These people are highly intelligent and they are the best manipulators in town. They manipulate themselves and then get other people to thinking there’s something wrong with them too.” 

There isn’t a lot of help for this issue. If you go to the hospital, they’ll label you bi-polar, James explains. They don’t help people with a group, information, classes, or education.

The patients are the creators of this work, he says. They teach us how to help them. “I have boxes of letters thanking me. Patients thank me for saving their life. I ask, ‘How did I save your life? I was never going to kill you. I loved you from the start.’” 

Suicide Therapy takes a very spiritual – not religious – approach since it is a spiritual disconnect that is the core problem. This therapy helps people reconnect with their own spirit.  

A very interesting statistic James shared is that when a parent commits suicide the chances of the child commiting suicide is 56%.

To learn more about this work listen to this entire interview and visit www.suicidetherapy.com or call 206-550-3961.

97.3 KIRO FM Radio Interview w/ host Linda Thomas & the CCT Team

By Linda Thomas | Seattle's Morning News | 97.3 KIRO FM

Junior Seau’s apparent suicide stunned sports fans and former teammates who recalled the former NFL star’s ferocious tackles and habit of calling everyone around him “Buddy.”

It also left people wondering what led to Seau’s death, an apparent suicide at the age of 43.

An autopsy report expected today probably won’t give family members the explanation they’re looking for.

We all want answers after a suicide.

James Hayes has been a local mental health therapist for 30 years, and he can’t count the number of times he’s heard things like this:

“I’m looking for something, but I’m not sure what.” “I feel like I have been swallowed by an avalanche.” “The real me dissolved into thin air. “I don’t know how to get back to myself.”

His colleague Fredric Matteson, at Contextual Conceptual Therapy, based on Bainbridge Island, has studied 16,000 suicidal patients. Depression and mental illness are not the main triggers for suicide.

“After I started listening to this many people I started to see a through line. It’s a commonality or a trend that speaks to every situation that I find, and it wasn’t about them having bi-polar or depression,” says Matteson.

The “through line” is that suicidal people don’t see themselves the way the world sees them.

“They’re in this place, inside this avalanche of emotion, and they can’t locate themself,” he says the suicidal people he’s studied have all managed to create a divide in their personality. He calls it a “bifurcated” state.

There’s the person everyone else sees, who generally seems normal and might even appear outgoing and happy. Then there’s the true self, the one who deals with all the painful feelings of abandonment, depression, and any other extreme negative thoughts. That’s the person they hide from the world.

“The best place to hide something is to not be present,” says Matteson. “If I’m not here I can’t be hurt, but if I’m not here I can’t be in love either. I can’t be in a relationship. I can’t have true success. I can’t sustain success. I’m this split place here.”

People who are suicidal try to cut themselves off from their emotions. They’re really in a “lost place” where they are trying to get out of their pain without understanding where the pain comes from.

Mental health therapist Jason Moran says someone who says they’re suicidal is actually closer to a breakthrough than anyone realizes.

“It’s not that something’s wrong with me, something is trying to be right with me here, and I need to uncover what that is. What is this phenomenon that’s keeping them from seeing who they really are?” says Moran. “Once they understand that and can begin to see what you see, the suicidal feelings drop.”

The take away from their years of research is this: We need to talk about suicide more, not less. That’s the beginning of helping people deal with the disconnect between who they think they are and the person the world sees.