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Self injury is serious business: cutting, burning, hair-pulling, etc. What purpose does it serve for you? Does it give you relief or a release from troublesome feelings? Does it ease your anxiety? Is it a "safe" way to express anger? Is it a way you punish yourself? Whatever the exact purpose, self injury serves as a coping skill. It's not a healthy coping skill, but it's what you're able to use right now to get you through.

But, here's the thing. You don't deserve to be treated this way. You don't have to stay in this trap. You can find freedom from self injury and learn healthy ways of coping. There are lots of other ways we can find for you to deal with your feelings and your situation. You can start living without hurting yourself. You can begin expressing your thoughts and feelings to others instead of taking them out on yourself. You can find new ways to cope. 

While I want you eventually to cope without using self injury, I realize that if that is your primary way to deal with things, yanking it away before you have learned how to use other coping skills is a recipe for disaster. We will come up with other things you can do to feel better. We will talk about why you are hurting yourself and what is behind it. We will count victories, large and small, without judging your self injurious behavior. You didn't hurt yourself today? That's a step forward. You were able to distract yourself for a few minutes before you cut? That's progress. You will see that as you practice using your other coping skills, you are able to go longer and longer without hurting yourself, and that is something you can feel proud of. When you hurt yourself again, because unfortunately this is just part of the process and is totally normal, you will learn not to beat yourself up, but to just keep going and try again. You can do this, and I am here to support you.

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