By: Denise Servin, M. Ed., LPC Associate Does your teen engage in self-harm? Teenagers are facing many difficult setbacks right now. Living though a pandemic has changed how they are educated. It has also affected the way they socialize. They do not get to see their friends as often as they are used to. Many […]
Does your teen engage in self-harm? Teenagers are facing many difficult setbacks right now. Living though a pandemic has changed how they are educated. It has also affected the way they socialize. They do not get to see their friends as often as they are used to. Many of them are dealing with loss. It may be the loss of a family member or friendship. There is also the loss of most chances to be social.
Depression can sometimes be a result of these experiences. Depression can lead to self-harm behaviors. But, what is self-harm? What does it look like? What are some of the warning signs you can look for? How do you give them support through it? It can be a very scary topic to deal with. It can also be uncomfortable to talk about.
What Is Self-Harm?
Self-harm can be described as self-injury. Self-harm is the act of inflicting harm on oneself. But, the intention of self-harm is not to die. For example, you may see cutting, burning, hitting themselves, or even picking at the skin. Why do teens self-harm? The reasons can be different for everyone. But, the reasons and emotions behind self-harm are key to understanding the behavior. These core feelings must be addressed in order to help your teen heal. Healing is necessary to make these behaviors stop.
Some common risks that can point toward self-harm behaviors:
- Low self-esteem
- Constant feelings of loneliness
- Experiencing repeated conflict
- Fighting with family
Some common reasons why people self-harm:
- They need to ease feelings of anxiety
- Hide their pain or sadness
- Stop feeling numb
- Get rid of anger
- Punish themselves for being a “bad person”
The reasons that teens engage in self-harm behaviors are not reasons that need to make sense to you. It is enough that they are real to your teen.
Some common signs of self-harm:
- Cuts, bruises, or burns on the stomach, arms, or legs
- Scars that you don’t recognize or seem odd
- Wearing long sleeves or pants in weather that doesn’t make sense
- Other injuries that they can’t or won’t explain
- Finding sharp objects (like razors) in their clothes or with their things
- Avoiding the chance to be social
- Talking about self-harm
How Can I Be Supportive To My Teen That Self-Harms?
Communication is very important. Self-harm can be very scary to talk about. But, opening that door is one of the most supportive things you can do. When you ask you are showing that you care. Talking about it gives them the space to talk about their feelings. Also, it shows that you are not afraid to hear what they have to say. In some cases, teens fear opening up. They worry that might be punished for their feelings.
If you’re dealing with a teen who is self-harming, there is already enough punishment happening. They are already feeling guilt and shame. So, it’s best to avoid adding to those feelings. It’s important to ask open-ended questions and really listen to what they have to say. At this point, you may decide it’s time to seek help.
Therapy can be very effective for people who want to stop self-harm behaviors. Furthermore, therapy can help your teen address and process the feelings that led to these behaviors. Also, they can learn new coping skills to help deal with strong emotions. A therapist can also work with your teen to come up with a plan of safety. These resources can be used if the urge to self-harm comes up.
Begin Teen Counseling at Our Center in Katy, TX
If you are ready to learn how to help your teen deal with self-harming behaviors, the therapists at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch can help! We provide therapy to people of all ages. To begin counseling in Katy, TX, follow these three steps:
- Contact our office to set up an appointment or to get more information about self-harm and teen counseling
- Meet with one of our caring therapists
- Find new ways to help with teens that self-harm
Other Therapy Services We Offer
Here at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch we offer counseling services in areas including counseling for kids, counseling for young adults, teen counseling, couples counseling, eating disorder treatment, men’s issues, women’s issues, anxiety treatment, depression therapy, trauma counseling, family therapy, and group counseling. Our therapists strive to regularly post blogs with helpful information on a variety of mental health topics. To learn more about our therapists and our counseling services, please reach out to the Counseling Center today!