Coping with Self-Harm Behavior and Moving On

 How can I find hope and healing?

          Some people who engage in self-harm behavior are able to stop without intervention.  They simply outgrow the need to resolve their emotional troubles in this way.  Others benefit from self-help groups, cognitive therapy to address the thinking behind the behavior, and behavior management strategies to examine the act of self-harm (Van der Kolk, 2002).  In A New Earth, Tolle (2005) describes the process of healing.  Awakening becomes integrated with the authentic self and gradually transforms everything we do and think.  Tolle continues “Instead of being lost in your thinking (and acting) you recognize yourself as the awareness behind it” (Tolle, 2005, p. 259).

            The work of deliberately healing personal pain that has led to self-harm behaviors is accomplished through the development of new behaviors (Favazza, 2011).  These new choices will create the ability to make a positive contribution first to the self and then to others.  It is simple to observe the effect the healing process can have on only one.  It is possible for a person to become one of the few who have confronted unbearable emotional pain, ripped bandages from tender flesh, and allowed wounds to heal.

            It is imperative that any therapeutic approach is specifically designed to meet the needs of the individual (Prout, 2007).  Self-harm behaviors do not occur in a vacuum.  There are other damaging behaviors that go hand in hand with self-harm, e.g. drug and alcohol use.  Treatment must address the needs of the holistic person.  Therapy Associates is a group of competent, compassionate professionals who tailor each treatment plan to the needs of each client.  We are compelled to reach out to those who have been wounded to assist in the achievement of awareness.  We can each take another by the hand and draw them into the circle of joy and laughter that is life.


Favazza, A. (2011). Bodies under seige. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Prout, H. T. (2007).  Counseling and psychotherapy with children and adolescents: Historical developmental, integrative, and effectiveness perspectives. In H. T. Prout & D. T. Brown (Eds.), Counseling and Psychotherapy with Children and Adolescents: Theory and Practice for School and Clinical Settings (4th ed.), (pp. 1-31). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Tolle, E. (2005). A new earth: Awakening to your life’s purpose. London, England: Penguin Group.

Van der Kolk, B. A. (2002). Posttraumatic therapy in the age of neuroscience. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 12(3), 381-393.