Articles by Angela Dean, PsyD

Angela M. Dean, Psy.D. earned her doctorate degree in Counseling Psychology from Chatham University in 2016. She completed her doctoral internship in the Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry at the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center Eastern Division of West Virginia University Medicine. Dr. Dean has returned to the clinic where she is completing her postdoctoral residency as an Assistant Professor (Clinical). She works with multidisciplinary teams to provide assessments, counseling, and consultations for patients with a variety of presenting problems. While her clinical and research experiences are greatly varied, Dr. Dean has a particular passion for health psychology, psychosocial oncology, obsessive-compulsive and related disorders, cognitive assessment, and personality disorders. When not working, Dr. Dean enjoys spending time with her family and friends, cooking, traveling, hiking, and reading.

Patient Suicide: Reflections on a Shattered Illusion

Patient Suicide: Reflections on a Shattered Illusion

As a psychologist, a profession that brings both routine and unpredictability, I try to hold onto – and maybe even control – what I can.

For me, that means starting each day with my cup of coffee (which I often leave on the Keurig until reminded by someone that I made it) and looking at my schedule to plan for my next few days.

There is comfort in the routine and also excitement in the possibilities of the unknown. Together, this dialectic keeps me passionate for what I do with my patients in consultation, therapy, and assessment.

And yet, one possibility, a mostly unspoken fear during my education and at training sites, was the chance that I would lose a patient to suicide.

Throughout my many practica and on internship, I completed numerous risk assessments and hospitalized patients voluntarily and, in a few cases, involuntarily. The focus of those interventions was the preservation of safety and the illusion that I would be able to keep each of those individuals alive.