Self-injury refers to deliberate, self-inflicted tissue damage such as cutting or burning. Self-injury has reached alarming proportions among our youth; studies show that 14-24% of adolescents and young adults have engaged in this behaviour at least once, with a quarter of these reporting current, chronic self-injury. Helpers are increasingly encountering young people who are involved with self-injury. This workshop will assist participants in understanding the experience and motivations of adolescents who intentionally injure themselves. In addition, practical strategies for working with youth struggling with this complex issue will be presented. Participants of this training will increase their insight regarding self-injury behaviour in youth and be provided with a framework for effective intervention.

Some of the Topics Reviewed

  • Categories of Self-Injury
  • Distinguishing Suicide Attempts from Self-Injury
  • Causes of Self-Injury
  • Functions of Self-Injury and Common Justifications
  • Self-Injury Warning Signs
  • The Cycle of Self-Injury
  • Initial Therapeutic Response
  • Assessment Considerations
  • Increasing Motivation to Stop
  • Mindfulness Strategies
  • Understanding and Identifying Emotions
  • Emotion Regulation Skills
  • Cognitive Strategies
  • Speaking with Family and Peers About Self-Injury
  • Self-Injury Contagion
  • Managing Setbacks
  • Mental Health Diagnoses Associated with Self-Injury
  • Prevention of Self-Injury

Target Audience

This is an intermediate level workshop for social service and health care professionals, counsellors, social workers, school personnel, and anyone seeking a better understanding of self-injury and how to respond to it.

Method of Delivery

Presentation, video, case study exercises, personal reflection, and small group discussions.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this workshop, participants should be able to:

  • Understand common aspects of self-injury including causes, warning signs, and how it helps
  • Distinguish self-injury from suicide attempts
  • Identify how to best respond to an individual who is self-injuring
  • Apply skills: assessment, emotion identification, replacement skills, and cognitive strategies
  • Know how to respond to self-injury relapses and the issue of contagion