Self-Harm Counselling in London
What is Selh-Harm?
Deliberate self-harm (also known as Nonsuicidal self-injury disorder, NSSID) can be described as causing deliberate hurt to your own body, most commonly by cutting, but also by burning, abusing drugs, alcohol or other substances. People who hurt themselves on purpose are engaging in self-harm or self-injurious behaviours. When self-harm occurs psychologists need to determine whether or not the act is intentional. Self-harm can be seen as a way of dealing with difficult feelings, by cutting, burning or bruising, tacking an overdose of tablets, pulling hair or picking skin. Self-harm is usually associated with other mental health conditions, such as Personality Disorders, Schizophrenia and Autism. Self-harm falls into 4 categories: major, stereotypic, compulsive and impulsive. Young people are the most at risk of developing self-harming behaviours.
Self-harm may serve a number of purposes at the same time. It may be a way of getting the emotional pain out or of being distracted from it, of communicating one’s feelings to someone else or of finding comfort. It can also represent a means of self-punishment. In England and Wales there are about 25.000 admissions to accident and emergency hospital departments for deliberate self-harm each year. However, it is difficult to make an estimate about the number of young people and adults who self-harm. Because they may feel embarrassed, ashamed or worried about other people’s reactions, people who self-harm often conceal what they are doing rather than draw attention to it.
Signs of Self-Harm
According to DSM-V, NSSI diagnostic criteria are as follows (American Psychiatric Association, 2013):
1. Over the past year, the person has for at least 5 days engaged in self-injury, with the anticipation that the injury will result in some bodily harm. No suicidal intent.
- The act is not socially acceptable.
- The act or its consequence can cause significant distress to the individual’s daily life.
- The act is not taking place during psychotic episodes, delirium, substance intoxication, or substance withdrawal. It also cannot be explained by another medical condition.
- The individual engages in self-injury expecting to
- Get relief from a negative emotion
- To deal with a personal issue
- To create a positive feeling
2. The self-injury is associated with one of the following:
- The individual experienced negative feelings right before committing the act.
- Right before self-injury, the individual was preoccupied with the planned act
- The individual thinks a lot about self-injury even if act does not take place.
Treatment for Self-Harm
The most effective treatment for Self-Harm are Cognitive Behavioural therapy and Dialectical Behaviour therapy, which focus on strengthening the patient's emotional regulation skills.
For more information about talking therapies and treatment programmes available at our Clinics in London, Milan and Rome please visit our Treatment page.
All our Therapists offer Psychological Therapies for Self-Harm. Click here to meet the Team.