Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To zoom in or out on PEP-Web…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Are you having difficulty reading an article due its font size?  In order to make the content on PEP-Web larger (zoom in), press Ctrl (on Windows) or ⌘Command (on the Mac) and the plus sign (+).  Press Ctrl (on Windows) or ⌘Command (on the Mac) and the minus sign (-) to make the content smaller (zoom out).   To go back to 100% size (normal size), press Ctrl (⌘Command  on the Mac) + 0 (the number 0).

Another way on Windows: Hold the Ctrl key and scroll the mouse wheel up or down to zoom in and out (respectively) of the webpage. Laptop users may use two fingers and separate them or bring them together while pressing the mouse track pad.

Safari users: You can also improve the readability of you browser when using Safari, with the Reader Mode: Go to PEP-Web. Right-click the URL box and select Settings for This Website, or go to Safari > Settings for This Website. A large pop-up will appear underneath the URL box. Look for the header that reads, “When visiting this website.” If you want Reader mode to always work on this site, check the box for “Use Reader when available.”

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Keen, E. (1973-74). Suicide and Self-Deception. Psychoanal. Rev., 60(4):575-585.

(1973-74). Psychoanalytic Review, 60(4):575-585

Suicide and Self-Deception

Ernest Keen, Ph.D.


The possibility of suicide makes existentialists of us all. In suicide, existence is at stake, and the character of human existence is that suicide is always a possibility—for ourselves, our friends, and our patients.

To see suicide as a human possibility is to see it very differently from the way our culture would have us see it: as a disease, a crime, at best an unfortunate accident. To see suicide as a possibility instead of such an eventuality is to orient ourselves toward ourselves, our friends, and our patients in a particular way. It is to see man as possibility instead of eventuality.

To see man as possibility is common among the treatment professions, such as when we speak of the responsibility patients must take in their own getting well. When the issue is a life decision a patient must make, we are likely to see him as possibility; but when the issue is a death decision a patient may make, that is, suicide, our courage fails us and the patient becomes for us less than a man. He becomes a disease, a management problem, a professional embarrassment. Our thinking about suicide, then, is often plagued by an inconsistency born of our unwillingness to resist cultural precriptions and to face death and suicide as characteristic and essential possibilities of being human at all.

If we take seriously that man is possibility and that suicide is an ever-present possibility, then it is absolutely necessary for the treatment professions to face squarely the issue of when to intervene to prevent a suicide and when not to. Is there a way to consistently

- 575 -

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2018, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.