Speaking through the skin: Self-harm and its meanings
Self-harm often begins in adolescence and can take many forms, including cutting, burning, eating disorders and the misuse of substances, including prescribed medication.
It presents a most challenging problem to professionals and carers who come into contact with these young people, who both want to work with them to understand and manage their self-harm, but who may also feel deeply alarmed by its occurrence, and unconsciously take on the role of either rescuers and punishers of these young people.
It creates tremendous anxiety in workers in the fields of psychotherapy, nursing, criminal justice, education and hospital settings, and its various meanings and functions can be overlooked, leaving desperate young people feeling even more alienated and misunderstood.
We will also consider the role of the internet in perpetuating and/or reducing self-harm and depression in young people and will discuss the relationship between self-harm and attachment difficulties in early life.
About The Palmeira Practice
Anna Motz is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist working with adults and adolescents, and also a consultant clinical and forensic psychologist with extensive experience of assessing and treating people who have long-standing difficulties with violence against themselves and others.