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
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.
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.
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.
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.