Self-injury refers to deliberate, self-inflicted tissue damage, such as cutting or burning. Self-injury has reached alarming proportions amongst our youth; studies show that 14-24% of adolescents and young adults have engaged in this behavior at least once, with a quarter of these reporting current, chronic self-injury. Helping professionals are therefore increasingly encountering young people who are involved with self-injury. This workshop will begin with a general overview to assist participants in understanding the experience and motivations of adolescents who intentionally injure themselves. The content will then focus on practical strategies for working with youth struggling with this complex issue. Participants will leave this workshop with increased insight regarding self-injury behavior in youth and a framework for effective intervention.

About This Workshop

Workshop Outline

Day 1

  • Overview of Self-Injury Behavior
  • Personal Perspective Exploration
  • Distinguishing Suicide Attempts from Self-Injury
  • Who Self-Injures
  • Causes of Self-Injuring Behavior
  • Increased Prevalence of Self-Injury
  • Functions of Self-Injury and Common Justifications
  • Warning Signs
  • The Cycle of Self-Injury
  • Problematic Reactions
  • Initial Therapeutic Response

Day 2

  • Assessment
  • Increasing Motivation
  • Mindfulness
  • Understanding and Identifying Emotions
  • Emotion Regulation Skills
  • Cognitive Strategies
  • Parents: How to Help
  • Self-Injury Contagion
  • Special Considerations for Schools
  • Managing Setbacks
  • Mental Health Diagnoses Associated with Self-Injury
  • Prevention of Self-Injury



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Resource Manual

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On-site Training

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Method of Delivery

Lecture, video, case study exercises and small group discussions

Target Audience

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