Self-Harm

Self-harm, also known as self-injury, means hurting yourself on purpose. While cutting (using a sharp object to pierce your skin) is the most common form of self-harm many other forms exist, including burning, scratching or hitting body parts. Self-harm often first manifests itself in adolescence or young adulthood and is typically used as a way to cope with emotional pain. Individuals who have experienced trauma, neglect or abuse are particularly susceptible to self-harming behaviors. Self-harm can be a passing phase, but it is sometimes a symptom of a more serious psychiatric problem, like anxiety, depression, borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia, so it is important to take it seriously. Whether you, or a child in your care, has recently started hurting yourself or you’ve been doing it for a while, there is help available! Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s self-harm experts today.

Meet the specialists

I have experience working with clients with a wide range of self harm experiences. I will not judge your experience and offer a safe and healing space to process self harm behaviors.

— Mallory Striesfeld, Licensed Professional Counselor in Houston, TX
 

I work in The Self-Injury Institute. Visit www.SelfInjuryInstitute.com for more information.

— Emma Jaegle, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

Self harm is in my opinion misunderstood. A client that is using self harm doesn't have the appropriate tools to manage distressing emotions. Clients that self harm are in an extreme amount of pain, and they take the pain out on themselves to feel better. Learning healthy and appropriate ways to tolerate, and work their way out of this addictive pattern of self abuse takes time, patience, and love.

— Bethany Juran, Licensed Professional Counselor in Arlington heights, IL
 

The shame you hold and carry with you can be overwhelming. I encourage you to find a trusted person you can talk to about this secret and welcome your visit if you want me to be that person to confide in.

— Christine Lillja, Psychologist in Laguna Hills, CA

I have worked with self injury for over 15 years and also provide trainings and workshops on the topic for clinicians, parents and schools. I use a harm reduction approach, and help people to explore the meaning and purpose of their self injury as they learn instead to find words for their pain.

— Kirsti Reeve, Counselor in Royal Oak, MI
 

The shame you hold and carry with you can be overwhelming. I encourage you to find a trusted person you can talk to about this secret and welcome your visit if you want me to be that person to confide in.

— Christine Lillja, Psychologist in Laguna Hills, CA

Many of us struggle with negative coping skills to help us through life's most difficult tasks and events. Individuals struggling with self harm often struggle with finding other ways to cope. Often we don't realize how harmful certain behaviors can be. I work with clients on DBT skills to work on deescalating emotions with positive coping skills like deep breathing, mindefullness, and exploring new skills that will help avoid negative behaviors and create new positive ones.

— Stephanie Brands, Clinical Social Worker in Plainfield, IL
 

While some providers may run away from this problem, I run towards treating it! One of the best things I get to experience as a professional is when I get to teach someone how to reduce self-harming behaviors and get their needs met in a healthier way. I have years of experience treating this behavior with successful resolution of self-harming behaviors. There is a reason for self-harming and when we can discover why, we can discover what to do instead.

— Michelle Fortier, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Tallahassee, FL

Self-harm is often thought of behaviors to "get attention" or something that "teens" do. Self-harm is often used as a short-term solution to difficult emotions/experiences. I understand that it works. I often find that with self-harm comes shame and hiding. Learning skills that are effective to manage the distress you experience and ones that do not result in you harming yourself to feel better is possible. You do not have to hurt yourself to be okay.

— Chantal Wilson, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Diego, CA
 

I have worked with individuals struggling with self-harm since 2010. Specialized training in DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy), which is the treatment of choice for Borderline Personality Disorder, as well as those who struggle with intense emotions and self-harm.

— Ashley Strang, Psychologist in Grand Rapids, MI

Self-Harm is a symptom of a deep pain from within us that we're just trying to escape in some way or another. I personally believe that self harm can be its own kind of addiction. Much like with substance abuse, in order to address it, I like to create immediate de-escalation and harm reduction techniques, and then move inward to address the underlying cause.

— Victoria Pentecost, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Conroe, TX
 

I have worked with self injury for over 15 years and also provide trainings and workshops on the topic for clinicians, parents and schools. I use a harm reduction approach, and help people to explore the meaning and purpose of their self injury as they learn instead to find words for their pain.

— Kirsti Reeve, Counselor in Royal Oak, MI

One of the most meaningful pieces of the work I do is helping people improve their relationships with themselves. I have experience implementing DBT-informed therapy and compassion-focused therapies to help clients manage self-harm and related challenges. Through this, we can help you understand what leads to self-harm and get you to a place of not feeling a need to have to resort to harming yourself to feel okay.

— Jennifer Gerlach, Therapist in Swansea, IL