top of page


What is Self-Harm?

Self-harm, also known as self-injury or self-mutilation, refers to the deliberate, non-suicidal act of inflicting physical harm on oneself. Self-harm can take many forms, including cutting, burning, scratching, hitting, or other methods of self-injury. It is often used as a way to cope with overwhelming emotions, relieve emotional pain, or gain a sense of control.

Reasons for Self-Harm:

People who engage in self-harm may do so for various reasons, including:

  • Emotional Regulation: Self-harm may serve as a way to cope with intense emotions such as sadness, anger, anxiety, or numbness.

  • Self-Punishment: Some individuals may use self-harm as a form of self-punishment for perceived failures, mistakes, or guilt.

  • Communication of Distress: Self-harm can be a way to communicate internal pain or distress when words feel insufficient.

  • Coping Mechanism: For some individuals, self-harm may provide temporary relief from emotional pain or serve as a distraction from overwhelming thoughts or feelings.

  • Sense of Control: Engaging in self-harm may provide a sense of control in situations where individuals feel powerless or overwhelmed by external circumstances.

Signs of Self-Harm: 

Recognizing the signs of self-harm is important for identifying individuals who may need support. Signs of self-harm may include:

  • Unexplained cuts, bruises, burns, or scars on the body, particularly in areas that are easily hidden

  • Frequent excuses or explanations for injuries

  • Isolation or withdrawal from social activities or relationships

  • Changes in mood or behavior, such as increased irritability, secrecy, or mood swings

  • Collection of sharp objects, such as knives, razors, or scissors

  • Expressing feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or low self-esteem

Impact of Self-Harm: 

Self-harm can have significant physical, emotional, and social consequences, including:

  • Physical Injury: Self-harm can result in serious physical injuries, infections, scarring, or long-term health complications.

  • Emotional Distress: Individuals who engage in self-harm may experience feelings of guilt, shame, or self-loathing, which can exacerbate emotional distress.

  • Social Isolation: Self-harm can lead to social withdrawal, stigma, and difficulties in relationships due to fear of judgment or misunderstanding.

  • Risk of Suicide: While self-harm is typically non-suicidal, it can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors, particularly if underlying mental health issues are not addressed.


Effective treatment for self-harm typically involves a combination of therapy, support, and coping strategies. Treatment options may include:

  • Therapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and other forms of psychotherapy can help individuals explore the underlying triggers and emotions associated with self-harm and develop healthier coping skills.

  • Medication: In some cases, medication may be prescribed to address underlying mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, or borderline personality disorder, which may contribute to self-harm.

  • Support Groups: Participating in support groups or peer-led organizations for individuals who struggle with self-harm can provide validation, understanding, and connection with others who have similar experiences.

  • Safety Planning: Developing a safety plan with strategies for managing urges to self-harm, identifying triggers, and accessing support during times of crisis can help individuals navigate difficult moments more effectively.

How We Can Help: 

Our therapists specialize in providing compassionate, non-judgmental support for individuals who struggle with self-harm. We offer evidence-based treatments tailored to each individual's unique needs and circumstances, with a focus on promoting healing, understanding, and resilience.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with self-harm, know that you're not alone, and help is available. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards healing and recovery.

bottom of page