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Self Harm Counselling

Self Harm is also referred to as self injurious behaviours (SIB’s), self injury, and cutting. Self harm is characterised by the utilisation of physical harm to one’s self as a coping mechanism for stressors. Many young people use self harm as a coping strategy.

Men, women, boys and girls can all suffer from self harm problems and often feel as though they have no other option. Often, people self harm as a way to deal with deep pain and distress. Counsellors can help sufferers identify the triggers for their self harm and learn new coping strategies to replace them. Through learning new coping strategies the individuals can begin the journey to a healthier and happier life.

Self Harm Characteristics

While self harm is judged wrongly by some to be an attention seeking behaviour, the truth is that it is done in secret. People who self harm are not trying to manipulate others; they are simply trying to cope with deep seated pain. People who self harm are trying to cope with life; they are not trying to kill themselves. Seeking help shows great strength and that the supportive and objective environment found when working with a counsellor can lead the way to a healthy and balanced life.

Individuals harm themselves in many ways including burning their skin, severely scratching or cutting their skin, throwing their bodies against hard objects, punching hard objects, picking at scabs to keep them from healing, sticking objects (ex. safety pins) through their skin, banging their head or hitting themselves, or swallowing inedible objects or poisons. Exhibiting any of these characteristics might be grounds to seek help.

Self Harm Treatment Options

The first step to getting help is to talk to someone about the self harm. Everyone has ways to cope with their emotions and some of them are better than others. Sometimes talking to a counsellor can provide the supportive environment needed to help identify triggers and develop healthier coping strategies.

In addition to talking to a counsellor or psychotherapist the support of friends, family, church members, or people who have the same struggles can help to feel grounded. The key is to find people who provide support to make positive changes.

How can Self Harm Counselling or Psychotherapy help?

Self harm is often used as a means of expressing feelings that have no words. It can help to release tension and pain that is stored inside and provide a sense of control. While it can help to release some tension, it can also lead to more serious injury, and does not leave a feeling of happiness.  The goal of counselling or psychotherapy will be to help the client learn strategies to promote a healthier and happier life.

Counsellors will help to:

  • Help identify the emotions, triggers, and habits that lead to self harm.
  • Help identify new coping strategies to express pain and other strong emotions.
  • Help identify new coping strategies to help with self-soothing.
  • Help identify replacement cutting/self harm behaviours.
  • Help identify the underlying cause of the pain and learn how to express it.