Self-Harm / Nonsuicidal Self-Injury (NSSI)

Self-Harm/Nonsuicidal Self-Injury (NSSI)

Self-harm/NSSI include any deliberate act of self-injury. The underlying cause of self-harm is typically some kind of inner turmoil or emotional pain. The physical pain becomes a way to cope by releasing tension and bringing a sense of calm. Though an individual partaking in self-harm does not usually mean to kill him or herself, such actions can escalate to attempted suicide.

Examples of self-harming behavior include:

  • Cutting or burning oneself.
  • Pulling out hair.
  • Punching oneself or objects, such as a wall.
  • Breaking bones or bruising skin.

Physical signs that someone you love may be self-harming:

  • Scars on the body, fresh or old.
  • Excessive scratching or picking.
  • Finding sharp objects where they shouldn’t be.
  • Keeping objects that are capable of inflicting pain on hand.

Emotional signs that someone you love may be self-harming:

  • Difficulty with interpersonal relationships.
  • Turning inward and isolating.
  • Depression or lack of motivation.
  • Self-loathing and a desire for punishment.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Impulsivity and unpredictable or unstable behavior.

Depending on the frequency and severity, self-harming behavior can be dangerous and require urgent attention. As an issue that requires much sensitivity, my primary concern is to provide a space where you can comfortably and safely explore what is causing you distress and leads you to engage in self-injury. Together, we identify and develop alternate healthy coping strategies to work towards ceasing the need to self-injure.


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