Perhaps you’ve noticed some changes in your teen. From the clothes they’re wearing to their behavior to their interests. They’ve been withdrawn and closed-off, emotionally and physically. Then you notice marks on them. Scratches, scars, bruises, or bald spots. You can’t remember them injuring themselves when with you and can’t image they’ve inflicted such damage from extracurricular activities. Your teen may be self-harming–and it may be a symptom to an underlying issue. Psychotherapy can help you and your teen understand why your kid chooses to self-harm, and alternative teen counseling can be an effective method for adolescents.
What is self-harm
Self-harm or self-injury is the act of purposely inflicting physical violence upon oneself. It’s a behavior. Some people choose to cut themselves with a sharp object like a blade or broken glass. Others choose to burn their skin. While others choose to pull their hair out in chunks. Even picking at skin and scabs can be considered a form of self-harm. Most often, these injuries are not motivated by a suicidal attempt and rather a coping mechanism for emotional distress. In other words, your teen doesn’t know what to do with all the complexity that comes with emotions nor do they know how to express the overwhelm. When kids harm themselves, it can lead to further emotional distress and shame, perpetuating a cycle.
Stats on self-harm
Unfortunately, deliberate hurting oneself is widespread throughout the world and is more common in Western societies. About 50% of people that self-mutilate use the method of cutting, 21%-44% hit themselves, and 15%-35% burn themselves. It has been found that self harm is also most prevalent in adolescents, especially girls. While the reasons behind self-harm vary, research shows that those that self-mutilate feel a general sense of control–when life can feel out of control–when they can control part of their bodies. It makes sense that research has also shown that a great percentage of self-harmers have been sexually abused or have an eating disorder, both of which involve a detachment from the body and mental state.
Alternative therapy for self-harm
If you see signs that your teens is self-harming, it’s best to have a mental health professional step in to evaluate your child. A treatment plan for your teen can include group counseling, psychodynamic therapy, CBT, DBT, dialectical behavioral therapy, and alternative teen counseling. Because teens may be easily discouraged to participate in traditional talk therapy, alternative interactive forms of therapy can complement talk therapy. Alternative teen counseling like art therapy, dance therapy, equine therapy, yoga therapy, and horticulture therapy are some of the ways your teen can develop healthy coping mechanism for underlying issues of depression, anxiety, and personality disorders.
To get more information on alternative therapy teen counseling, call (888) 295-9995.