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Counselling Services


Self-injury and self-harm


What do we mean by self-injury and self-harm? What purpose does it serve? What are self-harming behaviours? How can I help?


So many questions surround this universal subject, yet there is a veil of mystery and fear on the topic.


contact... Counselling Services can provide a brief presentation on this taboo subject, self-injury and self-harm. The main objective; to achieve an informed understanding on how we relate to Young People who present with self-harm behaviours, so that we do not compound the difficulties they face.


Self-harming behaviour is not ‘acting out’ or attention seeking’ – although it may be considered ‘attention needing’


Hard to stop!


  • Because self-injury is experienced as a coping mechanism, it is a mistake to push for a cessation of the self-harming behaviour.
  • Focusing on stopping self-injury, as if it is all that is wrong with a person’s world is counterproductive. Such preconceptions drive self-harming underground.


What can I do?


  • Recognise that self-harming behaviours are the tip of the iceberg.
  • Ask yourself what is this person trying to communicate.
  • Accept that self-injury has a purpose, a function.


Here at contact... counselling services our counsellors/therapists have many years experience working with children, adolescents and adults who use self-harming behaviours as a way of coping with emotional distress.