Self-Harm Interventions in Alexandria, VA (Franconia)—Counselors and Coaches

Self-Harm Interventions in Alexandria, VA (Franconia)—Counselors and Coaches

Sherry is a 45-year-old mom who works part-time from home. Caleb is a 22-year-old who is finding his way through his first full-time job. Sarah is 13 years-old and just starting eighth grade. Although these three seem to lead very different lives, their inner lives are not so different. Sherry, Caleb, and Sarah all face different stressors in their lives, but they have found relief in the same way: cutting. Self-harm is an activity that affects men and women, young and old. For many people, self-harm is a way to feel better or just to feel anything at all.

“Other times, I look at my scars and see something else:
a girl who was trying to cope with something horrible that she should never have had to live through at all. My scars show pain and suffering, but they also show my will to survive. They’re part of my history that’ll always be there.”
― Cheryl Rainfield, Scars

People who cut often face difficult life circumstances and the challenging emotions that come with them. Harming themselves may be the best way they know how to cope. Often, the hate and shame they feel or have experienced turns inward, onto themselves. Like most people, they never asked for the challenges that life has thrown at them or the hardship they have faced. Like most people, they are doing what they can to make it day-by-day.

If you or someone you love copes through self-harm, know that Thriveworks Alexandria, VA (Franconia) offers counseling for cutting. Self-harm may be the only way some people know how to survive, but when they are ready to learn new ways, the counselors at Thriveworks are ready to help them.

Various Forms of Self-Mutilation

When most people think about self-harm, they may assume that means cutting, and while cutting is one of many forms of self-mutilation, there are other ways that people injure themselves. Often, people combine different forms of self-mutilation.

Common forms of self-mutilation may include…

  • Burning—harming oneself through heat, possibly with matches, hot objects, cigarettes.
  • Scratching or cutting—using sharp objects to create lacerations upon the skin.
  • Carving, branding, or tattooing—utilizing symbols or pictures or words along with the pain.
  • Hitting—punching, biting, picking at oneself.
  • Pulling hair—forcibly and painfully removing significant amounts of hair.
  • Interfering with a wound—intentionally hindering the healing process.

Often, people’s legs, torso, and arms receive the wounds. Some people may participate in self-mutilation for a few times and then quit. Some people may struggle with harming themselves on a regular and on-going basis.

Risk Factors for Self-Harm

People in a variety of life circumstances and across different socio-economic factors often struggle with self-harm. While anyone can struggle, a few factors may make a person more likely to participate in self-mutilating actions:

  • Mental Disorders: When people struggle with a mental illness, they are often at greater risk for also participating in self-injury. For example, people who have borderline personality disorder, depression, a conduct disorder, an autism spectrum disorder, bipolar disorder, phobias, or schizophrenia may be particularly vulnerable to self-harm.
  • Psychological Factors: Childhood abuse is often a significant factor when people self-mutilate. Other psychological trials can raise a person’s risk as well, such as bereavement, difficult relationships, unemployment, and poverty.
  • Drug or Alcohol Use: Drug and alcohol dependence and withdrawal can increase people’s risk for self-mutilation. One Northern Ireland study found that in over 60 percent of patients who presented for self-harm, alcohol was a significant factor.

Coping Mechanisms and Reaching Out for Help

If self-harm has been the only way you know how to survive, know that you are not alone. Also, know that there are other ways to process emotional pain than through creating physical pain. Healthy coping mechanisms may include…

Connecting with a friend. Take a moment to think about a person who loves you and who will not judge you. What would it look like to talk to them? Tell them that you cut or that you are lonely or that you are scared. There are also support groups with other people who have self-harmed that may provide the care you need.

Avoiding media and movies that may trigger or idealize self-harm. It is okay to protect yourself. It is okay to fill your life with supportive messages and people who want you to recover. It is okay to be safe.

Expressing feelings in constructive ways. Take a walk. Try a yoga class. Learn relaxation techniques. Journal. Call a friend. Your feelings are important, and so is prioritizing a healthy expression of them.

One of the best ways to learn new coping skills is to work with a counselor or therapist. Skilled professionals will be able to identify the root cause of the self-harm and how to heal that wound. Mental health professionals also can point their clients toward the coping mechanisms that may be most effective for their particular situations.

Counseling for Self-Mutilation at Thriveworks Alexandria, VA (Franconia)

As you read through the forms of self-harm and the risk factors, did anything stick out to you or resonate with your experience? The therapists at Thriveworks understand. Learning new coping mechanisms that do not harm one’s own body can feel like an overwhelming or impossible task, but many people are learning to process their pain instead of expressing it upon their bodies.

When you are ready to meet with a counselor, Thriveworks Alexandria, VA (Franconia) is ready too. We offer evening and weekend appointments, and we accept most forms of insurance. Lean upon us while you heal. Contact Thriveworks Alexandria.

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My daughter's dad and I had a few sessions with Dee Jacobi-Edwards and she was great. She was very neutral and honest with both of us when it came to our disagreements and downfalls. She was also extremely patient with us throughout our sessions. I would absolutely recommend Dee.
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Not only does Mary Alice perform her duties in an exemplary manner following all protocols, she does so with empathy and caring.
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Lolita is a very thoughtful therapist. She also has a good understanding of children as she worked with my son at the ages of 15 & 16. She was an advocate for him, and she was eager to work with him in goal-setting, which my husband and I appreciate very much. We may continue to seek our her assistance in the future should our needs change. Thank you for all of your help.
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I was skeptical at first to open up to a complete stranger and express my problems and thoughts but Gelila made me feel completely comfortable within the first couple of sessions. She is very kind, a good listener, and extremely helpful. I have been talking to her for a couple of months and I feel instantly relieved of stress after our sessions. I can’t thank her enough for helping me out through tough times.
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Rebecca has been my therapist for almost a decade and I can not recommend her enough. She is thoughtful and caring, while also great at challenging and giving direct recommendations on how to deal with issues. She even stayed with me after I moved out of the area and worked to figure out a remote option. She has worked with me through many issues and remained a valuable resource I can rely on.
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Rebecca is incredible!

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I can't speak highly enough of Rebecca Fry - she is compassionate, patient, attentive, and encouraging. She is celebratory of growth and honest in her feedback without ever being critical or judgmental. For someone who was fearful of entering therapy, she embraced me with warmth and understanding. She has helped me tremendously by equipping me with practical coping mechanisms that are manageable and realistic but challenge unhealthy habits when necessary. On top of her professionalism - Rebecca is so easy to relate to and never makes me feel like I have anything to be ashamed of. She cares deeply for her patients and wants to help them lead healthier lives. She is an absolute treasure and I can't recommend her highly enough!!
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Highly Recommend Kayla Barnoski

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I would highly recommend Kayla Barnoski as a therapist. She is caring and knowledgeable. She listens and works with you to find a solution that works for your individual situation. She has experience with many age groups and is a hard worker. You will not be disappointed.
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Only one session so far, but it’s going well.

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Only one session so far, but it’s going well.
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I love Lisa Cornelius!

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I love my sessions with Lisa Cornelius! She helps me to work through issues and is just a fantastic listener!
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Lisa is great!

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Lisa is great! Easy to relate to and very helpful. I appreciate her flexibility as well.
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Loving my therapist!

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So far so good!!!!

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    Alexandria, VA 22310

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