Self-Harm Counselling

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Self-Harm is when someone injures or harms themselves deliberately but not with the intention of committing suicide. Although as with anyone who has emotional difficulties suicide is a risk. Self-Harm is often described as a way of surviving, a way of coping and self-soothing. People who Self-Harm have often had difficulties in their childhood ranging from abuse, neglect, bereavement and emotionally unavailable carers. But this is not always the case. Risk factors also include bullying, loss and confusion around sexuality.

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There are many types of Self-Harming including:-

  • Cutting
  • Biting
  • Trichotillomania-hair pulling-from any part of the body
  • Burning
  • Hitting self with fists or objects
  • Head-Butting
  • Skin Picking
  • Poisoning Self
  • Overdosing
  • Putting tight bands around parts of the body
  • Engaging in dangerous behaviour
  • Starving
  • Carving demeaning words on the body
  • Inserting objects into orifices
  • Bone Breaking
  • Not letting wounds heal, picking at wounds
  • Pouring damaging substances on body

People have said that they just had an overwhelming desire to hurt themselves. This can be a frightening experience and can leave you with the feeling that you are mad. Some have said they Self-Harm to feel alive as they feel ‘numb’ and ‘dead’. They desperately want to feel something. They described Self-Harm as a way of showing feelings that they are unable to voice, an escape from feelings such as emptiness, unreality, overwhelming anger, sadness and despair. It can be the only control you feel you have in your life. Guilt and shame are common feelings.


I asked someone who Self-Harms to describe what it meant for them. They kindly allowed me to print this here – they said –“Tell them it’s where the pain goes, you have bad pain in your stomach, emotional, you cut and it’s different, better pain, it goes somewhere else and cures the pain for a while”


It would be helpful to seek medical advice as often anti-depressants can help you especially in combination with counselling. There are many methods that can be used to cope with self-harming. These vary from distraction techniques, identifying triggers and self-help groups. Seeking professional help means that a qualified professional can support you. The most common treatment for self-harm is counselling, here you can talk through your problems without judgement and establish what your needs are. Counselling provides a warm, welcoming confidential atmosphere.