Self-Harm (self-injury)

Self-harm is defined as the intentional, direct injuring of body tissue most often done without suicidal intentions. The most common form of self-harm is skin-cutting, but self-harm also covers a wide range of behaviors including, but not limited to, burning, scratching, banging or hitting body parts, and interfering with wound healing. Self-harm is most common in adolescence and young adulthood, usually first appearing between the ages of 12 and 24. While some may only self-harm for a short period of time, left untreated, it is not uncommon for people to continue self-harming throughout their lives.

There are a number of reasons why a person would self-injure, but the most prevalent is internal emotional regulation; that is, to either stop intensive and uncomfortable feeling states, or to "feel something" when numbed.  It can also be used to communicate feelings or needs to others and perhaps even to impact the behavior of others (e.g., stop parents from fighting, stop a boyfriend or girlfriend from leaving, etc.).

The treatment approach taken at two(forty)counseling is comprehensive. The counselor will provide a safe environment in which the self-injurer can learn healthy coping skills to use in lieu of self-harm, while work through any past traumas that may be contributing to the client’s perceived need to self-harm in the first place. Additionally, if the client is a minor, the counselor will work with the parent(s) to guide them in how best to support their child.

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