Course Description

In this webinar, Dr. Franklin will review results of his recent research, including meta-analyses on prediction/risk assessment, brain imaging, and treatment/prevention. From there, he’ll describe what all of this means about what Self-Injurious Thoughts and Behaviors (SITBs) are, how they come about, how to best predict them, and how we can develop more effective treatment/prevention approaches. 

The rates of suicide in the United States and around the world have been fairly static for over one hundred years, with a sharp rise in suicide in the United States since the year 2000. This lack of progress has occurred in the context of tremendous medical advances, tens of thousands of studies on suicide, and countless governmental and institutional efforts to reduce suicide. This state of affairs suggests that we may have a fundamentally inaccurate view of what suicidality is, how it comes about, and how best to prevent it. Building off of this possibility, Dr. Franklin sought to develop a better approach to understanding suicide that interprets suicidality through the lens of the best available evidence from basic psychological science. His logic is that, however mental states/behaviors work, in general, must provide the fundamental framework for how suicidality works. The best available evidence indicates that all mental states/behaviors are "situated conceptualizations" (see Barrett, 2012; Barsalou, 2009); we accordingly reason that all suicide-related phenomena are also situated conceptualizations. This view is inconsistent with prevailing theories, which are founded on 1960s-70s ideas about the nature of thoughts, emotions, and neuroscience.

In this talk, Dr. Franklin will first explain what situated conceptualizations are and briefly outline the lines of evidence for this view from basic psychological science. He will describe how this view radically changes how we think about what suicidality is, how it comes about, and how we might best prevent it. Second, he will provide an overview of how this situated conceptualization approach predicted the results of four major lines of evidence about suicidality: (1) meta-analytic evidence that no one factor or small set of factors predicts suicidal thoughts and behaviors much better than random guessing; (2) machine learning approaches that consider the complex combination of a large number of factors are necessary to accurately predict future suicidal thoughts and behaviors; (3) meta-analytic evidence that there are no consistent structural/functional brain abnormalities associated with suicidality; and (4) meta-analytic evidence on >300 RCTs showing that no available treatment is effective at reducing suicidality. These four lines of evidence are inconsistent with all other existing theories. He will conclude by noting other novel predictions of the situated conceptualization approach, and where research and practice go from here.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Describe broad trends in suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  • Summarize broad meta-analytic evidence about suicide prediction and treatment, and the existing evidence on brain imagining and suicidality
  • Explain how recent advances in basic psychological science change how we view suicidal thoughts and behaviors

Technical Requirements: You will need a computer with high-speed internet access and either a telephone or speakers/headset for audio.  We use the WebEx system for our Webinars. Please ready your computer with a Test Meeting.


Joseph Franklin, Ph.D., earned his B.A. in psychology at Wake Forest University in 2005 and continued to work in the psychophysiology lab of Dr. Terry D. Blumenthal at WFU through 2007. He then went on to graduate school in clinical psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he worked in the lab of Dr. Mitchell J. Prinstein. At UNC, he received a Merit-Based Graduate School Fellowship (2007), a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation (2008-2011), the Early Graduate Student Researcher Award from the American Psychological Association (2009), three undergraduate research mentorship awards (2009, 2010, 2011), and the Baughman Dissertation Award (2012-2013). After receiving his M.A. (2009) and Ph.D. (2013) from UNC, he went on to complete a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University in the lab of Dr. Matthew K. Nock (2013-2015). In 2016, he was named a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science and began as an assistant professor in the Clinical Psychology program at Florida State University. Dr. Franklin’s work has been supported by the National Institutes of Mental Health, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, among others.

Continuing Education:

Evidence-Based Practice Institute (EBPI) is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to offer continuing education for psychologists. EBPI maintains responsibility for the program and its content. EBPI has allocated 1 hour of continuing education within APA guidelines for this course. After attending the webinar, a CE certificate will be emailed to the attendee.

EBPI has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6898. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. EBPI is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs. EBPI has allocated 1 CE Hour for this course. After attending the webinar, a CE certificate will be emailed to the attendee.

Note: Licensing and continuing education requirements vary by state. Please contact your state's regulatory authority to verify if this course meets licensing and/or continuing education requirements. You may also contact our CE department at or by calling 206-455-7934 ext. 81.


Registration Ends on:
Tuesday, October 9, 2018