Self-harm is the act of intentionally hurting your own body. Skin-cutting or burning are the most common types of self-harm. Self-harm generally occurs when a person faces painful emotions that seem overwhelming or experiences intense feelings of self-hatred. By physically injuring themselves, a person who self-harms feels in control and is able to temporarily relieve their intense emotions. The release provided by self-harm passes quickly, replaced by feelings of guilt and shame. In children and teenagers, self-harm is sometimes a cry for help or attention. Although self-harm is not usually a suicide attempt, it is a very unhealthy and dangerous way of coping with feelings of anger, frustration or emotional pain. Seeing a mental health professional can help individuals who self-harm to find positive and healthy ways to cope with negative feelings and put an end to their destructive behavior.
Local Experts in Self-Harming
Self-harming can be scary and confusing, both for the person who is engaging with it and their loved ones. I have been trained to use CBT and DBT, the gold standard of treatment techniques used to help get this behavior under control.
I am intensively trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy. DBT is the most widely accepted evidenced based treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder. A key feature I treat is self-harming behavior. I work in a clinic that specializes in treating BPD. I teach DBT to other therapists and interns. I lead two DBT consultations in the area.
As a DBT therapist, I have had over 8 years of treating those with self harming behaviors. I have had great success helping many significantly reduce or eliminate these behaviors.
It is the pain that prompts the self-harm that I am so concerned about and I believe you cope this way for a reason. Together we can figure out what prompts the behavior and give you other options that do not feel so bad afterwards. I believe therapy is about noticing you have options and honoring your ability to choose.
Cutting is epidemic among adolescents in America. And, it can take many forms. I currently work with it in a hospital setting, where it may or may not accompany suicidal ideation. It is, however, concerning and perplexing. I can offer mindful support to adolescents/young adults who engage in cutting, and perspective to concerned parents.