Therapy for Self-Harm in Westminster, CO—Counselors
Virginia is a new grandmother who is working hard to be able to retire one day. Gabe is holding down his first full-time job after graduation and wants to move into his own apartment soon. Rosie is a fifth grader who is bullied at school, but she would never tell her parents. As different as these individuals appear, their lives have farm more in common than would seem. Rosie, Gabe, and Virginia face different life challenges, but they are coping with those stresses in similar ways—with self-harm. Cutting and other forms of self-injury affect both men and women, the young and the old. Often, when people mutilate their bodies, they are simply doing their best to process emotional pain.
“It was a way of expressing my own shame of myself on my own body. I was matching the inside to the outside. And there were sometimes where my emotions were just so built up, I didn’t know what to do…” –Demi Lovato
Self-harm is often the only way people know how to express the excruciating life experiences they have survived. They may live with the severe emotions that often come with victimization, trauma, poverty, and more. When people do not know how to process the shame and the pain, they may express the emotional pain through physical pain, as Demi Lovato did.
If you or someone you love uses cutting or self-harm to find relief from the pain of life, know that you are not alone and know that it is possible to learn different coping skills. The therapists at Thriveworks Westminster have helped many people who struggle with self-injury heal from the psychological pain and find new ways to express their feelings.
Symptoms of Self-Harm
While cutting may be the most recognizable type of self-harm, it is by no means the only type. Self-injury can take different forms. For example, people may burn, carve, brand, scratch, pinch, or cut themselves to cause harm. Some people pull their hair, pick their scabs, or sabotage another wound’s healing process. Self-harm may pop up in people’s lives during difficult seasons, or it can occur regularly and repeatedly.
Just as the forms of self-injury vary greatly, so can the symptoms displayed by people who utilize it as a coping mechanism. For example, symptoms of self-harm may include…
- Displaying fresh wounds such as scratches, burns, bruises, or cuts.
- Hiding the wounds with clothing such as jackets and pants.
- Possession of knives or other weapons used to cause the injuries.
- Questioning one’s identity—Who am I? Why am I here?
- Interpersonal difficulties with friends, teachers, family, bosses, et cetera.
- Displaying impulsive and unpredictable behavior.
- Feeling worthless, hopeless, and/or helpless.
Why Might People Harm Themselves?
When, why, and how certain individuals injure themselves can vary from person-to-person, but particular circumstances and factors may make self-harm a more likely choice for particular people.
There is a strong link between psychological pain and self-injury. In particular, many people who self-harm have been abused as children. They may have experienced neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse, or sexual abuse. Abuse and other traumatic experiences can spark emotions such as worthlessness, confused sexuality, anger, panic, guilt, rejection, and/or self-hatred, and survivors of abuse often have difficulty regulating and processing these intense emotions. Self-injury is often the only way people know how to escape, even if momentarily. Through self-harm people are often seeking…
- A diversion from their pain.
- Help for their anxiety.
- Control over something in life.
- An experience other than numbness—even if it is physically painful.
- A way to express their experiences.
To blame themselves for the hardship they have endured.
Despite momentary relief, self-injury often exacerbates the underlying problems instead of alleviating them.
Someone I Love Is Cutting
Sometimes, friends and family members are in a position to help a loved one who struggles with self-injury. One of the best ways to help is simply being a loving and understanding presence. Here are a few tangible ways to support a loved one who may be self-harming.
- Listen without questions or judgment: Support can look like being quiet. Allow your loved one to talk when ready. Listen without interrupting. Do not lecture, criticize, accuse, or fix. These may make their urge to self-harm more intense.
- Express your love and support: Verbalizing your care for them and your willingness to help as they feel comfortable. You cannot force your loved one to pursue healing, but if they choose, offer to drive them to their first counseling session or encourage them to take their medications or help them find a support group to attend.
Therapy and Counseling for Self-Harm at Thriveworks Westminster
If you or someone you love are cutting or utilizing other forms of self-harm to cope with life, know that change is possible. The therapists and counselors at Thriveworks Westminster have seen people turn self-hatred into self-love and self-harm into self-advocacy. The process is not easy, but we are here for support and guide.
If you are ready to meet with a counselor or therapist, know that Thriveworks Westminster has appointments for self-harm available. Dealing with self-injury is difficult enough, scheduling therapy should not add to the difficulty. Our office has tried to make the scheduling process as easy as possible.
When you call our office, a person will answer and help you make an appointment. We also accept most insurance plans and offer weekend and evening appointments.
Let’s start healing. Contact Thriveworks Westminster today.