Self-Injury is something that is foreign to me. During my outpatient therapy days, I only had a couple of clients who engaged in self-injury type behaviors. Since changing from the outpatient therapy world into the residential world, I am seeing more and more adolescents who engage in self-injury or self-harming behaviors. As I said before the concept of self-harm is foreign to me, I don’t understand the function or the purpose behind the behavior. So doing as I always do when something is foreign to me I start researching and reading and reading some more. I am driven to provide the best possible care that I can.
Over the past several months, I have read and read trying to gain an understanding of self-harm and the function this behavior serves. When I began this journey, I viewed self-harm (cutting) as a suicide attempt. Let me say before I go any further with this post always, always evaluate for suicidal ideations. ALWAYS! I was astounded at the prevalence of self-injury per recent studies 1/3 to 1/2 of adolescents in the United States have engaged in some form of self-harm. That is a lot of young folks causing harm to themselves. But why? What’s the purpose? What are these young people trying to tell us adults?
Why? Self-Injury is not easily explained by one single cause. When examining self injury one must look at multiple causes. Instead of asking why an individual engages in self-injury. We must stop and consider what happened in the persons life to cause them to engage in self-injury.
So what’s the purpose of this behavior? Throughout my reading and research I have found four functions that appear to be consistent with self-injury.
- To regulate affect, soothe emotional wounds.
- Seek Mastery over Pain and Past Trauma
- Communicating pain, controlling others
- Authenticating a sense of self.
Everyone has a story to tell and each story is as different as the individual telling it. The main thing is to be ready to listen and provide unconditional positive regard for the individual as they share their story.
Over the next several weeks I will be dedicating some time to the exploration of this subject and I hope that my readers will find the information useful.
As we start our nightly bed routine, which includes tears, multiple trips to the kitchen to get a drink of water and the inability to stay on track… Life with two children who have been diagnosed with ADHD is always an adventure.
I call it herding chickens, one goes one way and the other the complete opposite. Oh the joys of motherhood. “He’s still not in the shower mom” from my youngest….. “But MOM!!!!! I don’t want to take a shower tonight” from my 10 year old ADHD son…. He is tired but fighting every step. This son of mine has always had difficulty going to bed at night. We have tried almost everything in the past 10 years to get this child of mine to go to bed at a decent time.
The best thing I have found is a nice solid ROUTINE…. But sometimes the routine goes haywire… The joys of being a mother with ADHD herself. Our lives run on a schedule, most people look at me funny when they see my planner. It has everything and I mean everything scheduled throughout the day.On top of the planner, I have multiple alarms set in an attempt to stay on track. Some times it works and some times it doesn’t. Tonight is one of those nights where it didn’t. Oh well, we will try again tomorrow night….
Oh, and yes he finally took his nightly shower and tucked into bed, fast asleep…. All is well in my world.
Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Psalm 127:3
This is the excerpt for your very first post.
As I start this adventure in the blogging world; I am at a loss for words. I have thought about doing a blog for some time now. With the thought of being a help to someone, some where. So here is a little about me and my background.
I am a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Kentucky. I have worked primarily with children and adolescents over the past several years. I honestly thought I had a good handle on everything. You know balancing work life and home life into perfect harmony. Being a counselor is part of who I am, it’s not just something that I do for a living. By nature I want to help and heal people; often times at the expense of my own health and sometimes sanity.
My life over the past decade has been a blur. I had my oldest child at the age of 28, followed by my middle child at age 33 and my youngest at age 34. My close friends and family often tease me about the fact that my youngest two children are 11 months apart. They also use this fact to boost me up when I am feeling like a failure. During my pregnancies with my youngest children I was attending college. As a matter of fact my youngest child was born the night of my Pinning Ceremony from Lindsey Wilson College. I had finally made it— I had my Bachelor of Arts. I had spent many years starting and stopping college (life happens), before I figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up. That was 2007 and in 2009 I graduated from Lindsey Wilson with my Masters of Education in Counseling and Human Development. The funny part: my graduation was on my baby’s 2nd birthday.
Now I am going to tell you that it has been smooth sailing since graduation— NO, it’s not. I interviewed at 150 different places, looking for employment as a counselor, I was told 150 times one of the following: too much experience for the job that I had applied for or not enough experience. At one point the No’s almost got the best of me. But I didn’t lose sight. I had spent 6 years of my life working toward my dream and I was not going to stop until I got it. In 2013 I went to work for a local agency, where I had the opportunity to sharpen my clinical skills and develop my own personal counseling style.
In short, never stop believing in yourself, don’t let No be the final answer to any question that God has placed in your heart.
One of my favorite Verses: I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me. PHILIPPIANS 4:13