Cutting and Self-Injury—Counseling and Therapy in Beverly Hills, MI
Ethan is 13, and he has perfect attendance at his school. He makes As and Bs and stays after school every day for band practice. Meg is turning 28 soon. She has a stressful job, and her friends are scattered throughout the country. Recently, she has been feeling stuck. Gary is about to retire, but he will probably keep working. He is always doing “just fine.” The outward appearance of Gary’s, Meg’s, and Ethan’s lives are very different, but their inner emotional lives are very similar. Different pressures are pushing down on them, but those stresses are being handled in the same way—through self-harm. Many people who cut or injure themselves are dealing with psychological pain, and they do not know any other way of surviving.
“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
Psychological pain is often triggered by traumatic experiences or other stressful situations. No one asked for these situations to be a part of their lives, but they are often left with the emotional aftermath and intense pain. Like everyone, people who self-harm are coping with difficult emotions in the best way they know how, and often that means expressing their emotional pain through physical pain. People may turn the hate and shame they feel about an external circumstance inward—on themselves.
Many people are learning, however, that self-harm is not the only way to handle these intense emotions. As the cliché goes, “when we know better, we do better.” Often, when people learn new coping methods, they can process the big feelings that arise without harming themselves in the process.
That is why the therapists at Thriveworks Beverly Hills offer counseling for cutting and self-harm. We have seen people learn new coping skills and practice healthy self-care.
Cutting and Other Forms of Self-Injury
Cutting is just one of many forms of self-harm. The reality is that while cutting might come to most people’s mind when they think of self-harm, people who struggle often use many different ways of inflicting pain upon themselves. Self-injury may also look involve…
- Yanking or pulling out their hair.
- Unlacing stitches, re-opening scabs, or other forms of interference with the body’s healing process.
- Tattooing, carving, branding one’s skin to express pain through a symbol, word, or picture.
- Burning one’s skin with cigarettes, matches, ropes, heat, or more.
- Punching, scratching, biting, cutting, hitting, or pinching oneself (with or without a knife or sharp object).
For some people, they use self-harm periodically, possibly when they are particularly stressed or triggered. For other people, it may become more of a ritual, and they self-injure on a daily (weekly, monthly) basis.
Self-Harm: Circumstances that May Increase Risk
Certain circumstance can make a person more vulnerable to self-harming behavior. The following are risk factors that may make it more likely for people to turn to self-injury as a way of coping.
- Drug or Alcohol Use: A study conducted in Northern Ireland followed cases of self-injury that presented at a hospital. In over 60 percent of the time, the person who self-injured was also using alcohol. Often, people combine drug or alcohol use with their self-injurious behavior.
- Psychological Pain: A common thread in self-harm is child abuse. Many people were maltreated or neglected as children. Others have also faced bereavement, poverty, domestic violence, and more.
- Mental Health Diagnosis: Often, self-harm accompanies mental illness. In particular, the following diagnoses have self-injury as a potential symptom: borderline personality disorder, phobias, a conduct disorder, bipolar disorder, an autism spectrum disorder, depression, or schizophrenia.
Another Option: Learning New Coping Skills
What if there were another option for handling emotional pain than expressing it through physical pain? Many people are learning alternative coping skills—replacing their self-harming behavior with behaviors that allow them to handle the intense emotions in a healthy way. For example,
- Connecting with a loved one. Think about a family member or friend you could text or call on a regular basis. As you are able, let that person know more and more of your experiences and feelings. Sometimes, just saying hi to someone who cares about you can make a big difference.
- Make your physical and emotional safety a priority. Feeling secure matters. Think about what might trigger the self-injuries and avoid those things. Think about when you feel safe and pursue those situations. Give yourself space to heal.
- Practice Mindfulness. People are talking about mindfulness a lot these days. Mindfulness is simply the practice of paying attention to yourself. Throughout the day, take a moment to pay attention to what you are feeling, sensing, and experiencing.
Therapy for Self-Mutilation at Thriveworks Beverly Hills, MI
New coping skills may be difficult to learn, but they are always worth the effort. While this are no short-cuts or magic potions for developing new emotional skills, there is help and support. Thriveworks Beverly Hills has helped many people find a new way to process their emotions as they have stopped cutting.
If you are ready to meet with a therapist at Thriveworks Beverly Hills, know that our office accepts most forms of insurance. We offer evening and weekend appointments. Many new clients see their therapist within 24 hours of their first call to our office.
A new path awaits. Let’s get started. Contact Thriveworks Beverly Hills today.