What Is Self-Harm?

Self-harm is any type of behaviour which includes the act of hurting oneself on purpose. Self-injury usually begins in early adolescent years but can become a coping mechanism that is used well into adulthood years. It occurs in both the female and male population, though the methods of inflicting injury may differ.

People with a history of mental disorders, survivors of traumatic events and individuals who feel like they are lacking control over their life are more prone to self-harming tendencies. The pain can serve as a temporary means of gaining control over feelings and thoughts, and even as a diversion from negative situations and circumstances in a person’s life.


man looking upset with hands in eyes


Methods of Self-Harm

  • Cutting, pinching or biting
  • Punching or slapping
  • Scratching or burning
  • Picking at wounds
  • Abuse of medications, alcohol and drugs
  • Starving


Why Do People Self-Harm?

There is a conviction in society that people who indulge in self-harming behaviours do so to get attention. This is very problematic because, while self-harming can be a way of attention seeking, that does not make it any less serious. Some self-destructive patterns may very well have long-lasting, and in some instances even lethal consequences.

People may harm themselves for many reasons, some of which are:

  • belonging to a peer group that does self-harm
  • difficulty managing negative, overwhelming emotions and thoughts
  • a poor support circle and/or social isolation
  • to punish themselves because they feel inadequate or lacking in some way
  • feeling numb and turning to self-injury to produce some emotional reaction

Not all people who self-harm will attempt suicide, but there is a higher risk in this group than in the general population.


Trauma image


Groups at Higher Risk of Suicide

  • People with substance abuse issues
  • People who have a terminal illness and/or endure excruciating chronic pain
  • People who have lost a loved one
  • People with family history of suicide or attempted suicide
  • People who have previously attempted suicide
  • People who have lost their job or home and don’t have access to social and mental health services
  • People from minority groups in hostile or unsupportive environments


Warning Signs

  • Individual openly says they do not wish to live anymore or they are contemplating suicide
  • Talking about being a burden, feeling out of place or having a lack of purpose in life
  • Withdrawing and avoiding social contact
  • Suddenly changing sleeping and eating patterns
  • Giving away belongings to friends and family
  • Leaving a goodbye note
  • Taking part in risky activities or acting more reckless than usual
  • Purchasing the means for ending their life, such as a weapon or pills

If you are suspecting someone you know may be thinking about or actively planning to commit suicide, it is important to immediately get help. Remember – while they might get mad at you now if you react, the anger and resentment will pass but if you don’t, their life may be lost.


person scrolling on phone


Treatment We Offer

At Dr Jo Gee Psychotherapy, we are dedicated to providing every client with a safe space to share their story. It is our mission to build a strong foundation for the new, healthier you together, with the help of a treatment plan tailored to your needs. Our professional team will help you achieve the best outcome and provide you with useful insights that you can implement in the future.

Our suggested treatment plan for issues regarding self-harm and suicidal ideation is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Some of the benefits of using CBT are as follows:

  • It doesn’t take long to notice improvements and the benefits of therapy are long-lasting
  • It can teach you how to deal with difficult topics and emotions without harming yourself in the process
  • It has a structured approach which will help you feel like you are gaining control of your life again
  • It can successfully be combined with other treatment plans


Get in Touch

Still not sure if you could benefit from our services? We offer a free 15-minute phone consultation at a time convenient for you. After that you can book a 50-75 minute assessment where you will have time to ask questions, share your therapy goals, discuss the possible outcomes, and build a personalized treatment plan with a member of our expert team. Your therapist will support you every step of the way, whether you opt for a short or a long-term plan.

If you would like to book an initial consultation, please message or call us, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.