Self-Injury in Youth: The Essential Guide to Assessment and Intervention

Self-Injury in Youth: The Essential Guide to Assessment and Intervention

Self-Injury in Youth: The Essential Guide to Assessment and Intervention

Self-Injury in Youth: The Essential Guide to Assessment and Intervention

Synopsis

This edited volume features evidence-based reviews and practical approaches for the professional in the hospital, clinic, community and school, with case examples throughout. Divided into five major sections, the book offers background historical and cultural information, discussion of self-injury etiology, assessment and intervention/prevention issues, and relevant resources for those working with youths who self-injure.

Excerpt

During the period of editing and writing this book, friends and nonmental health professional colleagues would ask me, “What is the book about?” In certain cases, I was met with no comment after telling them that the book was a guide for professionals who work with youth who purposefully self-injure. It is a topic that is not always a “conversation maker.” In talking with others, though, it seemed there was a curiosity, a need for them to understand why this occurred and what might contribute to it. Several talked about youth they knew who self-injured or someone in their family. At times, it would develop into an interesting exchange of thoughts and ideas that they themselves had. Many wondered why young people would willingly do this to their bodies.

I became interested as a child and adolescent psychiatrist and clinicianresearcher in examining this area from a research perspective because of two particular situations: Adolescents in the partial hospitalization program that I directed over 15 years ago continually told me that selfinjuring was the “only thing that worked” in terms of coping with difficult and distressing feelings, certainly better than any therapy and medication I might have or considered using and better than any other coping strategy that we had gone over repeatedly. Many wanted to stop but found this reinforcement difficult to overcome. As part of a treatment team, we spent much time discussing how best to intervene and assist these youth, always with a nonjudgmental approach and every attempt to understand their behavior from their perspective. When I attempted to seek out more information at that time, I was stunned by the lack of evidence, both from the perspective of better understanding this behavior and what may be effective treatment for self-injury in this age group.

This became the beginning of an incredibly rewarding and at times challenging journey of researching and treating youth who self-injure and their families. I have been privileged to be able to continue my clinical and research work that originated at the Children’s Hospital of . . .

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