Developed in 1960 by AAS’s founding president, Dr. Edwin Shneidman, as well as Robert Littman, MD, and Norman Farborow, PhD, and refined over the years since, the psychological autopsy has become a best practice postmortem procedure to reconstruct the proximate and distal causes of an individual’s death by suicide or to ascertain the most likely manner of death where that manner of death is equivocal and left undetermined by a medical examiner or coroner. The psychological autopsy, furthermore, helps promote understandings to the often-asked “why?” question raised by survivors regarding the suicide of their loved one, is used in case-control research studies to better ascertain risk factors for suicide, and helps to answer questions of causation in both individual cases (e.g. where negligence may be alleged) of suicide and interconnections between cases (as in clusters of suicides), hence lessons learned to inform prevention efforts.
Certification Training Course
What? 2-day, face-to-face training program in the psychological autopsy leading to certification as a Certified Psychological Autopsy Investigator
Who? Presented by Alan L. Berman, Ph.D., AAS Executive Director
How much? Fees vary.
Upon completion of this training, participants will be able to:
• Discuss the history and purposes of the psychological autopsy as a postmortem investigatory tool.
• Identify the procedures used in the conduct of a psychological autopsy investigation.
• Effectively implement a psychological autopsy protocol and associated procedures to conduct, analyze, and understand how and why an individual died in the manner they did.
Registrants certified through the AAS Psychological Autopsy Certification Program may, thereafter, list their certification from AAS as a credential that offers assurance to potential contractors and employers that one has demonstrated training and expertise in the use of this procedure. Certified individuals will be offered inclusion in an AAS roster of certified psychological autopsy investigators, hence may be offered opportunity to conduct psychological autopsy investigations at registrant-designated fees on AAS psychological autopsy projects.
Submit registration form, copy of CV, and application fee to:
Mr. Holley Jackson
5221 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20015
Optional Continuing Education Units (CE):
CE may be earned on the training portion of the certification. There's no additional fee for CE.
Certified Counselors: AAS is recognized by the National Board for Certified Counselors to offer 12 Continuing Education Units for National Certified Counselors. We adhere to NBCC Continuing Education Guidelines.
Psychologists: This program is sponsored by the American Association of Suicidology. The American Association of Suicidology is an organization approved by the American Psychological Association to offer 12 Continuing Education Units for psychologists. The American Association of Suicidology maintains responsibility for the program.
Social Workers: This program is approved by the National Association of Social Workers (Provider #886455354-9571) for 12 social work continuing education contact hours.
Marriage and Family Therapists: AAS is accredited by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.
* Registrants must possess a minimum of a Masters degree in a social sciences/behavioral health field OR current employment consistent with the opportunity to conduct psychological autopsies
* To complete the certification process, trainees will be further required to independently conduct and submit a completed psychological autopsy case study/report post-training evidencing appropriate interpretation of findings from protocol-based interviews and archived records.
* Certification is good for 3 years. An annual fee ($100) to maintain certification in good standing is required after year 1. Renewal certification will be granted for a five year period (at an annual $100 fee or a one-time five-year fee of $400) upon submission of evidence of a minimum of one psychological autopsy study in clinical, research, forensic, or other settings during the first three years.
If your organizaition or group of organizations would like to arrange a training session at your location; please contact Andrea Price, Project Manager at AAS to discuss potential dates and costs.