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

Arrival Counseling annie dolle LCSW (she/her/hers)

Licensed Clinical Social Worker


Working in Level 1 Trauma Emergency Dept I have significant experience working to assess and support individuals in acute pain and crisis. I know this serves a purpose and I want to know more. I also use EMDR and experiential therapy to heal the deeper wounds that are managed through any form of self harming behaviors.

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Firefly Institute

Licensed Professional Counselor

Whether a person has recently started hurting his or herself or has been doing it for a while, there is an opportunity to improve health and find a new path for managing complex emotions or life experiences. Firefly provides individual, family and group counseling to address self-harming behaviors. We also offer an intensive outpatient program for those who need increased care and support.

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Kate Keating (she/her)

Professional Counselor Associate


Self-harm was a common reason students came to see me in my work as a school counselor. I have researched this issue extensively and have advanced training from the Portland DBT institute.

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