Self-harm is common when there are underlying issues of depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Other disorders that can coexist with self-harm are impulse control disorders, drug and alcohol disorders, eating disorders, PTSD, and personality disorders. Self-harm is a coping mechanism used to help deal with thoughts, and feelings that are self-destructive. Self-harm is deliberate in nature and is very different than a suicidal gesture, as this is a way for people to live, and they are struggling to deal with the pain, but not wanting to end their life.
Treatment for self-harm can be through both individual and group therapy. Treatment goals tend to be centered around decreasing self-harm behaviors, by helping identify the thoughts and feelings that are triggering. These triggers can be ignited by poor/unhealthy relationships or any situation which brings oneself to think in a negative way about themselves. I often like to call triggers “life circumstances”; they happen all the time, and we have to learn to navigate them. As we are unable to change the triggers or situations, so we have to learn how to react to them in a healthier way. Therapy is centered on identifying these triggers to decrease the behaviors associated with these thoughts and feelings.
Therapy Modalities that I utilize for the treatment of self-harm is as follows:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
Change occurs when there is a level of acceptance of the self, and of the circumstances, and when there is the ability to manage one’s internal world.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or need help now please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit the website suicidepreventionlifeline.org. This resource is free and confidential.