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What is self-harm? Clinical psychologist named types of self-destructive behavior

Date: July 17, 2024 Time: 16:02:42

Modern psychology identifies various forms of destructive or destructive behavior. The most common is self-harm, when a person tends to harm themselves: both physically and psychologically. Let’s talk to an expert about what it is, how it manifests and is treated.

What we will tell you

What is self-harm?

Research professor and clinical psychologist at the European Medical Center (EMC)

“Self-harm is a manifestation of deviant behavior. It involves causing physical or emotional harm to oneself.”

The manifestation of self-injurious behavior can also be observed in psychopathological conditions, for example, depressive disorder, autistic disorder and personality disorders.

Causes of self-harm.

There is no single cause for self-harm. It is caused by the interaction of several factors. Among them are a certain biological predisposition (predisposition), biological vulnerability.

In addition, the development of self-harm is influenced by individual characteristics of the nervous system. It turns out that the parts of the brain responsible for regulating emotions have some characteristics. Therefore, a person may experience excessive emotions and be dysregulated when experiencing stress.

Photo: istockphoto.com/FrankyDeMeyer

In addition to the biological component, the environment contributes to the development of self-harm. How our reactions are formed and how we learn to cope with our experiences is directly related to the conditions in which we develop. What is important is what educational strategies parents used and how relationships with peers were built.

What types of self-harm exist?

In self-harm there is cognitive component – certain thoughts that include guilt, self-criticism and self-flagellation. They are all connected and lead to low self-esteem. In some areas of psychotherapy, these conditions are called the “inner critic.” Your voice can be punitive and punishing in nature.

This “inner criticism” begins in childhood, when the environment and context in which the child grows is characterized by excessive toxicity, criticism and cruelty. Subsequently, the words of important adults who did not treat the child and his needs or his peers with attention become self-criticism and lead to self-harm.

In people who experience difficulties with emotional and behavioral regulation, another expression of self-harm is self-harming or self-aggressive behavior. In uncomfortable situations, these people experience guilt, shame, sadness, or anger. The inability to cope with these emotions, the lack of skillful and constructive coping strategies, can lead to the fact that a person begins to resort to self-destructive behavior.

Photo: istockphoto.com/Chinnapong

At this time, shifting focus to physical pain or self-punishment helps to let go of emotional experiences. This provides relief, but only temporarily, and subsequently leads to repeated episodes as the behavior pattern becomes entrenched.

Self-harming behavior is an important issue. More and more teenagers and young people are making this request. The health danger of self-harming behaviors lies not only in aesthetic defects, but also in serious tissue damage, which can cause infections and even, in extreme cases, death.

Another type of self-injurious behavior is latent. In this case, the person resorts to bad habits as a form of self-destruction. They can also be extreme sports and risky behaviors, which psychologists associate with self-harming mental tendencies.

What are the consequences of self-harm?

A person prone to self-harming behavior experiences discomfort and uncomfortable emotions.

You do not have enough strategies to deal with this, so it will limit your life, it will be more difficult for you to move towards your goals, you may have unstable self-esteem, difficulties in building personal, business and professional relationships.

Photo: istockphoto.com/triocean

Self-harm causes serious physical injuries, emotional exhaustion and even suicidal thoughts. It also aggravates existing psychological problems and creates a vicious cycle of self-destruction.

How to deal with?

Self-harm is a serious problem that requires professional attention and help. If you notice self-aggressive behavior, the best solution is to contact a specialist – a psychologist or psychotherapist.

If your child or someone you know is having self-harm issues, it is very important to respond as quickly as possible. Children are more susceptible to therapy, so contacting a specialist when a problem arises can significantly speed up the treatment process.

There are several programs to work with such conditions.

If self-destructive behavior is observed in children with neurodevelopmental characteristics (for example, self-harm in autistic disorders), the work of a speech therapist or behavioral therapist will be helpful.

Photo: istockphoto.com/KatarzynaBialasiewicz

In situations where self-injurious behavior is observed in adolescents or young adults, a psychotherapist and emotional behavior regulation programs will help to cope.

There is a program called Dialectical Behavior Therapy by Marsh Linahan. It consists of modules aimed at teaching stress resistance skills and coping with self-aggressive and self-harming behaviors.

When working with adults, cognitive behavioral therapy or compassion-focused therapy can help. Within the framework of the latter, a person tries to replace the critical inner voice with a benevolent one.

Also read:

Personal experience: how to improve concentration in adults with ADHD

There are friendly and compassionate self-talk techniques for self-support. In other words, we showed that self-criticism leads to worse mood. When you are in a bad mood it is very difficult to face some things, it is more difficult to achieve your goals.

Only a friendly attitude towards ourselves helps us move forward. This approach has a scientific basis: it confirms the uselessness and harmfulness of the inner critic and the fact that a different attitude towards oneself can lead to positive changes in life.

Forecasting and prevention of self-harm.

Self-harm is a serious psychological condition that requires timely intervention and professional help. The sooner signs of self-harm are detected and a person seeks help from a specialist, the sooner he or she can return to normal life and avoid possible complications.

Photo: istockphoto.com/Vladimir Vladimirov

Preventing self-harm begins by combating stress and reducing the number of situations that can provoke strong negative emotions. It is important, from a young age, to teach children to correctly deal with conflicts, to express their feelings and emotions without fear and aggression, using, for example, physical activity or sports as forms of relaxation.

Harmonious and supportive relationships in the family also play an important role in preventing self-harm. It is important that the child feels safe surrounded by her loved ones.

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* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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