“Suicidal People are Made, Not Born!”Norman Farberow, February 12, 1918 – September 10, 2015
Matthew D. Dovel
Go to International Suicide Prevention for more information about this
amazing new procedure called '4 Phase' at: http://www.supportisp.
• Death of Norman Farberow
• Decision making process
• Interrupting the suicidal impulse
• Sigmund Freud’s ‘beyond the pleasure principle’
• Trauma identification
• The stigma dilemma
• Research results
• Self-help for suicidal ideation
Norman Farberow a great psychologist known for being at the
forefront of suicide prevention passed away on September 10, 2015,
on World Suicide Prevention Day, at the age of 97.
He is quoted as saying, “Suicidal people are made, not born.
We can therefore unmake them as we learn more about the roots of
self-destructive behavior. Suicide is less a decision than a reaction.
I believed that if they could learn what is being reacted to, then we
would have an opportunity to interrupt the suicidal impulse."
Scientist Matthew D. Dovel working in the field of human
behavioral modification agrees with the late Mr. Farberow. Taking
it a step farther Mr. Dovel has created a way for even a child to find
and interrupt the suicidal impulse. The procedure named, ‘4 Phase’
because, it causes a subject to phase between the consciousness and
subconscious four times while focusing on a traumatic experience.
This new procedure created to interrupt the suicidal impulse takes
advantage of a naturally occurring phenomenon that was noted while
observing conflict resolution counseling. If someone is experiencing
intense emotional suffering then suggest that they view the situation
and/or circumstance from four different points of view. The results
will be that the individual will suddenly soften becoming willing to
open a dialog with a combatant.
Sigmund Freud (1922) talked about the pleasure principle and
how we are controlled by the need to seek out pleasure in the decision
making process. We also are driven to avoid pain at any cost. When
someone experiences a situation and/or circumstance outside the
scope of their normal life experiences it is called a trauma. Traumas
are stored in our consciousness where primary decision making is. If
a trauma is severe enough it will cross the threshold overriding the
self-preservation mechanism that protects us from imitate danger
from the loss of life. While we have a need to stay a safe distance away
from fire it is not necessary to avoid anything warm just because it
now causes recurring memories of seeing a friend getting burned to
By lessening the intensity level of a traumatic experience, it will
permanently move a trauma out of the consciousness and into the
subconscious for new evaluation, and then free the consciousness for
rational decision making.
In 2006, field testing began on ‘4 Phase’ with a 24/7 suicide
prevention hotline at International Suicide Prevention, a 501(c)
(3) public charity nonprofit organization. A procedure designed to
interrupt the suicidal impulse started to work immediately for those
that were seeking help over the phone. Over time the procedure was
perfected and then adapted into a self-help procedure.
The stigma associated with suicidal thoughts, being classified
as a mental illness, although correct in definition, creates a barrier
for those wanting to seek help, and each time a suicide is justified as
having been caused by an undetected and/or misdiagnosed mental
illness just deepens the already stigmatized issue.
In November of 2014 ‘4 Phase’ the self-help version went live on
International Suicide Preventions website. Thanks mainly to a grant
for search engine placement from Google, two to three hundred
people per day visit ‘4 Phase’ self-help to experience relief from intense
emotional suffering. Suicidal individuals have difficult obstacles
to overcome that ‘4 Phase’ meets and exceeds by bypassing stigma
allowing individuals to remain anonymous, it is quick, permanent,
easy, and free (Figure 1).
*Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to:
4 Phase, Accessed from: http://www.supportisp.org/4phase.html
Freud, S. (1922). ‘Beyond the pleasure principle’ Accessed from:
International Suicide Prevention, a 501(c)(3) public charity, Accessed
Stigma, Accessed from: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/
The Washington Post (September 18, 2015). Norman Farberow:
IJEMHHR • Vol. 17, No. 3 • 2015 661