How To Help Someone Who Cuts: Seeking Professional Help

All week we’ve been discussing the serious topic of self-mutilation and cutting. We’ve discussed why someone may self-harm, how to react to someone who cuts, and how to communicate concern with someone who feels tempted to hurt themselves. The next step is getting in this process is getting professional help. A trained professional can help can help with:

Getting to the root of why the cutting behaviors are happening.  Many times, like an addiction, cutting occurs as a result of not having effective emotional coping skills.  Many people who cut, would rather feel the "numbness" of physical pain than the emotional pain.  Perhaps they have learned that they can't trust their own feelings, or when they allow themselves to  feel, it feels "out of control".  Counseling can help the individual recognize their triggers to cutting, as well as learning to trust all of their emotions, as well as learn better emotional regulation to feelings such as anger, abandonment, hurt, fear and sadness.  Counseling a family member or a part of the support system of someone who cuts, can help that individual become a better support to that person's emotional processing and regulation.

Counseling provides a safe place, without bias.  A good therapist will not be shaming or judgmental.  They will provide a safe place, or a "container", if you will, to explore feelings, talk about the cutting experience, and find new ways of coping.  As a family member or loved one of someone who cuts, it can be a safe place for you to talk about your experience with your loved one, and to feel supported in your own journey to being healthier.

Joleen Watson, MS, LMFT, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.