Self Injury

What self-injurious behavior is

  • Also called “self-harm,” “self-mutilation,” “self-abuse”
  • Deliberate, repeated, impulsive, self-inflicted harm (non-lethal)

What we treat

  • People who engage in self-harm behaviors including (but not limited to): cutting skin, scratching skin, picking at skin, burning skin, punching self, bruising self, infecting self
  • Other related disorders of impulsivity, depressive disorders, anxiety disorders

Our program philosophy

  • Comprehensive and strengths-based
  • Includes (up to) three individual sessions a week, approximately four psychoeducational groups each day, weekly meetings with the staff psychiatrist, psychologist, dietitian, and clinical director
  • Incorporates elements of spirituality, mindfulness, art, movement/exercise, and psychotherapy
  • Incorporates pharmacology, when appropriate

Goals for therapy

  • Understand origins of destructive thoughts and behaviors
  • Practice self-control and self-regulation skills
  • Build self-esteem
  • Replace maladaptive coping skills with adaptive coping skills and schemas
  • Establish/identify community and familial systems of support
  • Identify and appropriately practice distraction vs. self-soothing skills

Clinical modalities

Recommended reading

Freedom from Self-Harm: Overcoming Self-Injury with Skills from DBT and Other Treatments by Kim L. Gratz and Alexander L. Chapman