Self Injury


Can’t Shout, Can’t Scream – A self injury zine, with all back issues online.

Healing Self-Injury.  “The Cutting Edge” newsletter was published from 1990 to 2008: this site is the continuation of the newsletter. It contains selected articles, commentaries, written and artistic contributions from the readership, and reviews of various resources for those who live with SIV.

The Lysamena Project on Self-Injury. Christian-based self-injury information and resources

National Self Harm Network Information, resources, training, and helpline, Self-Injury Information and Support.  Personal stories, poetry, photographs (very graphic.), articles, coping suggestions, links, and a book store.

Self-injury: You are NOT the only one. A respected and very comprehensive site and one of the oldest sites dealing with self injury. Many resources for self-injurers, therapists, family and friends, plus a message board


Connors, Robin E. (2008) Self-injury: Psychotherapy with people who engage in self-inflicted violence. Rowland and Littlefield, NY, NY.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:  What Is Self-Injury? – Understanding Self-Injury – Trauma Wounding and Healing – The Incomplete Self-Boundary – PART I: RESPONDING TO PEOPLE WHO SELF-INJURE – Therapeutic Goals and the Role of Compassionate Presence – A Therapeutic Posture to Support the Healing Process – Helping Clients Address Their Self-Injury – Repairing and Completing the Self-Boundary – Working with Core Issues and Other Interventions – PART II: MANAGING OUR OWN RESPONSES TO SELF-INJURY – What Happens to Good Clinicians? – Finding the Right Action – Nourishing and Sustaining the Self of the Therapist – APPENDIX A:Sample Questions that Might Be Useful When Talking with Clients about Their Self-Injury – APPENDIX B: Checklist for Identifying the Functions of Self-Injury – APPENDIX C: The List of Lists

NOTE: From the publisher: “Key to this work is understanding the function of self-inflicted violence and its relationship to unresolved traumas and losses, including the role of trauma in disrupting the formation of the self-boundary. Dr. Connors identifies fundamental therapeutic tasks, gives clear examples of interventions, and offers concrete recommendations for interacting with patients about their self-injury. A range of related issues are addressed as well, from repairing inadequate self-boundaries to using adjunct therapies. Finally, the task of determining right action in light of strong countertransferential responses is explored, including situations where self-injury occurs in the therapist’s presence.”
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Conterio, Karen, Lader, Wendy with Kingson Bloom, Jennifer. (1999) Bodily harm: The breakthrough healing program for self-injurers. Hyperion, NY, NY.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: What is self-injury? – Drawing the line what is normal, what is not? – Why do people choose self-injury? – The link to child abuse and early trauma – The case for biological fragility – Growing pains: the adolescent self-injurer – Body image and self-injury – The eating disorder connection – Behind the “macho” myth: the male self-injurer – Characteristics of self-injurers and their families – What family members and significant others should know – The medical side of self-injury: diagnoses and prescriptions – What therapists should know – Classifying self-injury and paying for treatment – Part II: The S.A.F.E. Alternatives Program – Why old cures don’t work and ours does – How and why should I risk changing? – Getting S.A.F.E.: the transformation – Our patients experiences with S.A.F.E. – Success

NOTE: From the publisher: “Written by the directors of S.A.F.E. Alternatives (Self Abuse Finally Ends), it clearly defines what cutting is and explains the kinds of emotional trauma that can lead to self-mutilation. It also includes case studies, diaries, and success stories from a diverse group of patients….In this book, you’ll find: how to distinguish something relatively harmless from a serious disorder, with a diagnostic questionnaire to help; why women account for the majority of self-injurers; what motivates self-injury and why it has grown so rapidly; and how therapists, families and friends can help.
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D’Onofrio Amelio A.  (2007) Adolescent self-injury: A comprehensive guide for counselors and health care professionals. Springer Pub. Co., NY, NY.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: This is far too long to cite here: you can access it by going to and clicking “about this book.”

NOTE: From the publisher: “Each part of the book focuses on a basic topic, such as what constitutes self-injury, the foundations for self-injury, and how to engage an adolescent with these issues. Each issue is presented in straightforward chapters that are immediately accessible to those who are currently struggling to address this growing trend among teens. The chapters within each part delve into how to recognize, treat, and approach this illness and incorporate first-person stories from psychologists, teachers, and adolescents themselves.”
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Gratz, Kim L. and Chapman, Alexander L.  (2009) Freedom from self-harm: Overcoming self-injury with skills from DBT and other treatments. New Harbinger Pub, Oakland, CA.

NOTE: From the publisher: “This complete guide to stopping self-injury gives you the facts about self-harm, corrects common myths about this behavior, and provides self-soothing techniques you can begin using right away for regulating difficult or overwhelming emotions. Freedom from self-harm also includes self-assessment worksheets, guidance for seeking professional help, and information about the most effective therapies and medications. Drawn from treatments such as dialectical behavior therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy, the tools in this book can help you cope with your emotions whenever you feel the urge to self-harm.”
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Hollander, Michael. (2008) Helping teens who cut: Understanding and ending self-injury. The Guuilford Press, NY, NY.
NOTE: Written for parents, this book define sand explains SI, tells parents how to help their children and explain SI to siblings, friends, and the school. Includes resources, including websites and intentsive treatment programs.
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Levenkron, Steven. (1999) Cutting: Understanding and overcoming self-mutilation. W.W.Norton, NY, NY.
TABLE OF CONTENTS: What Is Self-Mutilation? – The Phenomenon of a Self-Destructive Act – Who Is the Self-Mutilator? – The Reactions of Others – How the Disorder Takes Shape – How and Why the Disorder Deepens – Attachment Patterns – The Benefits of Self-Wounding – The Value of Pain in Our Culture – The Family System – Incest and Other Childhood Abuse: Fusing Pain with Security – Toward Recovery: A Perspective on Change – Reaching Out to Reach In – Who Can Be the Helpers? – Bumps Along the Road – Caught Between Symptom and Attachment – Moving Backwards to Recovery – Achieving Genuine Communication with Others – Analyzing and Confronting the Past – Recommended Readings on Self-Mutilation – Other Resources

NOTE: From the publisher: “In Britain, one person in 130 is a self-mutilator; in the US self-mutilation is almost as common as bulimia and anorexia, yet the condition is not recognized as a clinical disorder and few understand it. This work has been written for the self-mutilator, parents, friends, and therapists and explains why the disorder manifests in self-harming behaviour and describes how the self-mutilator can be helped.”
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Milia, Diana. (2000) Self-mutilation and art therapy: Violent creation. Jessicaa Kingsley Pub, London, England and Philadelphia, PA.

NOTE: From the publisher: “In many cultures, self-mutilation is incorporated in sacrificial rituals as a means of healing the whole society. Body modifications such as scarification and tattooing are used in rites of purification, healing and maturity….Diana Milia draws out these aspects of self-mutilation, informing them with theories from psychoanalytical literature, to explain how art therapy can help patients who self-harm. She argues that using art as intervention supports the self-mutilating person’s preference for ritualized symbolic action and their need to create transitional objects. She describes artmaking in terms of symbolic modification of the self-mutilating client’s own body, with the ultimate goal of self-transformation. The creative process itself provides an arena for the discharge and mastery of aggressive impulses, and develops self-control, self-esteem, and symbolic capacities, all of which are crucial in the treatment of self-mutilating behaviors. Includes extended case studies.”
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Levitt, John L., Sansone, Randy A.. and Cohn, Leigh, Eds. (2004) Self-harm behavior and eating disorders: Dynamics, assessment, and treatment. Brunner-Routledge, NY, NY.
TABLE OF CONTENTS: Introduction  – Epidemiology –  1: The Prevalence of Self-Harm Behavior Among Those with Eating Disorders –  2: Dying to Live: Eating Disorders and Self-Harm Behavior in a Cultural Context – Psychodynamics –  3: Impulsive and Compulsive Self-Injurious Behavior and Eating Disorders: an Epidemiological Study –  4: Self-Harm and Suicide Attempts in Bulimia Nervosa –  6: Feminist Perspectives on Self-Harm Behavior and Eating Disorders Assessment –  7: Assessment Tools: Eating Disorder Symptoms and Self-Harm Behavior –  8: An Assessment Tool for Self-Injury: the Self-Injury Self-Report Inventory (Sisri)Treatment –  9: An Overview of Psychotherapy Strategies for the Management of Self-Harm Behavior –  10: Therapy-Related Assessment of Self-Harming Behavior in Patients with Eating Disorders: a Case Illustration –  11: Dialectical Behavior Therapy Strategies in the Management of Self-Harm Behavior in Patients with Eating Disorders –  12: An Integrative Cognitive Therapy Approach to the Treatment of Multi-Impulsive Bulimia Nervosa –  13: Eclectic Treatment of Eating Disorders and Self-Injury: a Case Illustration –  14: Interventions and Strategies for Families and Friends of the Self-Harming Patient with an Eating Disorder –  15: A Self-Regulatory Approach to the Treatment of Eating Disorders and Self-Injury –  16: Group Therapy Approaches to the Treatment of Eating Disorders and Self-Injury
NOTE: Self-harm behaviors such as burning, cutting or abrading oneself are common in individuals with eating disorders. This book examines the co-occurrence of self-harm behavior and eating disorders from a variety of perspectives — cross-cultural factors, the complications caused when a patient suffers from other disorders, and the efficacy of various treatment programs
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Miller, Dusty. (1994, 2005) Women who hurt themselves: A book of hope and understanding. Basic Books, NY, NY.
TABLE OF CONTENTS: Women at War with Themselves – The Body as Battleground – Secrecy Silence and Deception – Self-Protection – Relationships – The Healing Journey – Misunderstandings and Mistreatment – The Outer Circle – The Middle Circle – The Inner Circle
NOTE: From the publisher “Miller is widely recognized as the first expert to identify the roots of ‘cutting’ and other self-injurious behavior in women. These women suffer from what she calls ‘Trauma Reenactment Syndrome’ (TRS), a pattern of behavior in which they reenact severe psychological or physical harm done to them as children… Miller discusses what self-harming women and abuse survivors have known all along; that self-injury activates endorphins that actually calm the psychic pain of old wounds.”
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Nixon, Mary K. and Heath, Nancy L.,  Eds. (2009) Self-injury in youth: The essential guide to assessment and intervention. Routledge, NY, NY and Abingdon, Oxon, England.

NOTE: From the publisher: “This edited volume features evidence-based reviews and practical approaches for the professional in the hospital, clinic, community and school, with case examples throughout. Divided into five major sections, the book offers background historical and cultural information, discussion of self-injury etiology, assessment and intervention/prevention issues, and relevant resources for those working with youths who self-injure.”
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Strong, Marilee. (1999) A bright red scream: Self-mutilation and the language of pain. Penguin, NY, NY. (Later editions, 200 and 2005, do not have a preview in Google Books.)

NOTE:: From the publisher:  ” Marilee Strong explores the myths and stereotypes that have led many therapists to misdiagnose and mistreat cutters as failed suicides and masochists. Through interviews with dozens of psychiatrists, doctors, researchers, clinicians, and cutters, Strong explains how cutting can become a powerful coping mechanism for dealing with overwhelming emotional pain and gaining control over an out-of-control mind and body. She presents startling new biological research — including evidence of profound changes in brain chemistry and structure as a result of exposure to childhood trauma — that may explain why cutting is even more difficult to give up than alcohol or drug addictions or eating disorders. Finally, Strong includes information on what people with the affliction and those close to them can do to start the process of healing.”

Walsh, Barent W. (2008) Treating self-injury: A practical guide. Guilford Press, NY, NY.
TABLE OF CONTENTS: Definition and Contexts for Self-Injury – Definition and Differentiation from Suicide – The Relationship between Self-Injury and Suicide – An Overview of Direct and – Major Groups in Which Self-Injury Occurs – Body Piercings Tattoos Brandings Scarifications and Other Forms of Body Modification – 6A Biopsychosocial Model for Self-Injury – A Stepped-Care Model – Step 1 – 7Initial Therapeutic Responses – Formal Assessment of Self-Injury – Cognitive-Behavioral Assessment – Contingency Management – Step 2 – Replacement Skills Training – Cognitive Treatment – Family Therapy – Psychopharmacological Treatment – Step 3 – Body Image Work – Prolonged Exposure or Cognitive Restructuring for Treating PTSD and Related Self-Injury – Step 4- Treating Persons with Multiple Self-Harm Behaviors – Residential Treatment Targeting Self-Injury and Suicidal Behavior in Adolescents – Specialized Topics – A Guide for Therapists and Other Caregivers – Social Contagion and Self-Injury – A Protocol for Managing Self-Injury in School Settings – Asphyxial Risk-Taking: the Choking Game – Psychopharmacological Treatment – Step 3 – Body Image Work – Prolonged Exposure or Cognitive Restructuring for Treating PTSD and Related Self-Injury – Understanding Managing and Treating Foreign-Body Ingestion – Self-Injury in Correctional Settings – Treating Major Self-Injury- Afterword – Appendix A: Breathing Manual – Appendix B: Body Attitudes Scale BAS – Appendix C: Clinical Scales to Assess Self-Injury – Appendix D: Helpful Websites Related to Self-Injury – Appendix E: Bill of Rights for People Who Self-Harm

NOTE: From the publisher: “(Covers) the variety and causes of self-injurious behavior and how to recognize it in people at risk, ranging from those who do not have psychiatric diagnoses to those with eating or mood disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder, personality disorders, or psychoses. Illustrated with detailed case examples, clear guidelines are presented for assessing clients and conducting evidence-based interventions using replacement skills training, cognitive-behavioral therapy, exposure treatment, psychopharmacology, and family- and school-based strategies. Reproducible clinical materials are included.”
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