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 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
 

I have worked with youth (children and teens) who have thoughts and behaviors of self-harm as well as thoughts and behaviors of suicide. I utilize Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy as well as interventions from Dialectical Behavior Therapy.

— Katrina (Kat) de los Santos, Mental Health Counselor in San Antonio, TX

Self-harm involves a toxic combination of self-hatred and intense emotions that seem impossible to overcome. I want to help my clients piece these two components apart and work through each one. Overcoming self-harm involves working through emotional distress without unintentionally pointing to yourself as "the problem" which only leads to more emotional distress. It also involves developing the confidence that you can handle whatever life throws at you.

— Zach Leezer, Clinical Social Worker in Chicago, IL
 

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

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
 

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

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
 

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

Someone might self-harm for a variety of reasons, but ultimately, self-harm is a person's way of expressing that something is wrong and they need help. So long as self-harm is not putting a person's life in danger, I approach the issue with compassion and non-judgment while we explore alternate methods to handle the feelings that drive the behavior.

— Catherine Humenuk, Clinical Social Worker in The Colony,
 

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

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
 

I understand that there is a difference between self-harm and suicidal behavior and have experience helping people learn adaptive coping strategies.

— Debbie Duquette, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Madison, AL