Treatment for Self Harm
Self harm is not a condition, but usually an expression of a difficulty underlying. Young people often harm themselves in an attempt to manage internal emotions that they find overwhelming. The underlying emotions could be anxiety, depression or a variety of different feelings. In our view, self harm is never done as attention seeking behaviour. It is always an expression that the young person is suffering inside and that they do not know how to cope with their feelings. Self harm is not necessarily a sign of suicidal feelings, but it is risky behaviour and hence needs to be taken seriously and the risks needs to be managed.
We offer assessment in order to try and understand the underlying situations and feelings which overwhelm the young person. Once we have done an assessment, we will discuss a treatment pathway with you. The assessment will always include a risk assessment and the treatment will always involve a plan around risk management or crisis management. Even after the first session, you should leave with a clear crisis plan as well as resources available to you that can help and support you at home.
Treatment options is often a combination of individual therapy, group DBT and family therapy. Treatment may also include medication. The treatment aim will be to address the underlying issues, but also to help the young person and their families learn skills on how to cope and manage in the face of distress. Often people are feeling hopeless and our aim is to turn hopelessness into mastery and connectedness. When risks are higher more intensive treatment will be offered, involving regular contact during the week. We also hold parent workshops for parents of young people presenting with self harm.
Need to discuss before treatment?