Research estimates that 80% of those who cut or engage in other forms of self-harm are trying to regain their emotional balance. Getting help for cutting and other forms of self-harm can be very difficult for those who self harm. Despite the myth that people who cut want others to notice, most often those who cut will tend to hide their scabs and wounds.
Because of the secrecy surrounding cutting and shame related to this way of coping, it can be months or even years before some people get help. If you are looking for help for cutting for yourself or someone you love here are some things to consider.
Basic tips for getting help:
- Talk to someone about your concerns. If it is you who is cutting, talk to a parent or school counselor and ask for support in getting help. If you know someone else who is cutting, talk to him or her directly about your worries and that you hope they will get help.
- Look for a therapist who specializes in DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy).
- Build support from others who will be a positive support in your life. Negativity and drama can fuel the cutting behaviors, so it is important to work on having less of those things in your life.
- If you are a parent wanting to help your child, read the book “Helping Teens Who Cut: Understanding and Ending Self-Injury”
Things to look for in a therapist or counselor:
- How much experience do they have working with cutting and self-harm?
- Does the therapist practice Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)? This technique has shown great results in treating self-harm, suicidal ideation, depression and anxiety. If they do not practice DBT, ask more about their approach and make sure it works for you.
- Do you feel comfortable with this person? Often we say if after 2-3 sessions they do not feel like a good fit, you should see another counselor to see if someone else may be a better fit for you at this time.
Remember, it is okay to ask questions to make sure you find a therapist who will be the best fit. And if you visit one therapist you thought was a good choice, it is okay to change your mind.
The most important things about getting help for cutting are to find someone who: 1) has expertise in working with self-harm and 2) makes you feel comfortable, understood and supported.
Collaborative Counseling offers DBT which has been found to be highly effective in helping those who struggle with self harming behaviors to learn healthier ways to manage their painful emotions. Some believe that teens in particular will “grow out of” self-harming behaviors and this is not always true. The best way to help a teen struggling with self-harm is to seek professional counseling and therapeutic services.
For more information on our counseling services and scheduling, please contact us to schedule today.
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