To understand self-harm counseling we must first understand self-harm.
Self harm and cutting are often misunderstood as attention-seeking behavior. However, most often these are symptoms of deep emotional pain or anger. Individuals who self-harm – typically teens and young adults – tend to feel disconnected from the world around them.
The physical pain caused by self-injury allows the individual to temporarily escape feelings of loneliness and pain that may be more difficult to deal with, or perhaps actually feel something when they are otherwise numb.
Forms of self-injury include cutting, burning, hitting, intentionally picking at wounds to keep them from healing, and even reckless driving or binge drinking. Some warning signs that a friend or loved one may be harming themselves include:
If you have the urge to self-harm, you are no doubt familiar with the shame and guilt that follows, along with the eventual return of the emotional pain you were seeking to escape. If you are the parent of a child who self-injures, then you are probably filled with confusion, fear and worry about why your child would want to self-harm. Parenting an adolescent is tough enough without the added stress and worry of self-harming behaviors.
At Lifeologie, we seek to work with and support the entire family in this difficult and confusing situation. Our counselors work with cutters and other self-harmers to create a plan for reducing self-injurious behaviors while developing healthier coping skills. Through our creative solutions – including expressive arts, sand tray therapy, and yoga therapy, individual therapy and family therapy – we’ll also help you process the emotional issues underlying the self-harming behavior.
Self-mutilating and attention-seeking behaviors are often confounded as being identical; but for many individuals who self-injure, the activity is conducted with the utmost secrecy, concealing wounds from family and friends and reporting shame when confronted about the condition. More commonly, individuals who self-harm report doing so in an effort to:
The physical indicators for self-harm are similar to the warning signs for physical abuse; just as the psychological symptoms are analogous to the indicators for depression and impulsivity—with a few notable distinctions.
Although most self-injurious behavior is non-suicidal in nature, risks associated with self-harm include infection, accidental death, or worsening suicidality. However, several therapeutic interventions have proven effective for managing and reducing self-harm.
If this hits close to home and you are ready to talk to someone, contact Lifeologie to set up an appointment today. If you are unsure if your behavior constitutes self-harm, give us a call and we can set you up with a counselor to discuss your specific behaviors. Help is a phone call away!