". . .The body speaks of that which cannot be said in words, of secrets, lies, and trust that has been broken." – Sharon K. Farber
What is Self-Injury?
Self-injury (self-harm, self-mutilation) can be defined as the attempt to deliberately cause harm to one's own body and the injury is usually severe enough to cause tissue damage. This is not a conscious attempt at suicide, though some people may see it that way.
Common forms of self mutilation involve cutting, burning, hair-pulling, hitting, interference with wound healing or any other method used to deliberately harm oneself.
You may wonder why someone would intentionally harm him or herself. Self-injury can be used to distract oneself from intense feelings such as anger, sadness, loneliness, shame, guilt or other emotional pain. Many people who cut themselves do so in an attempt to try and release all the emotions they are feeling. Others may feel so numb that seeing their own blood when they cut themselves helps them to feel alive. Some people find that dealing with physical pain is easier than dealing with emotional pain.
Because students who “cut” typically are psychologically distressed and feeling disconnected or emotionally isolated from others, counseling can be very helpful for effecting change. Counselors at the UCPS frequently work with “cutters” and are willing to provide therapy or make referrals for students seeking help.
Self-Injury: You Are NOT The Only One (More information about self-injury)
Self Help Books and Interesting Reading
Cutting: Understanding and Overcoming Self-Mutilation by Steven Levenkron, 1998
Grief & Loss
What is grief?
When we lose someone close to us, whether through death, changes in an important relationship, or other losses, people often feel a deep sadness called grief or bereavement. Grief is experienced in many different ways across cultures and it is normal to experience changes in your usual feelings, thoughts, or behaviors during and after a significant loss. The most popular model of grief suggests people experience a loss by moving back and forth through the following stages:
Denial / Shock
What’s the best way to cope with my grief?
Realize grief takes time and is longer or shorter for different people in different situations
Talk with friends, family, and other sources of support (e.g., journal, support group) about the loss
Try to maintain your usual routines (eating, sleeping, exercise, social activities)
Determine if you have open-ended issues from the lost relationship, and try to find ways to resolve these issues
If your grief persists or feels too intense to handle, seek professional help.
*Special thanks to University of Buffalo, University of Iowa, & Hampden-Sydney College Counseling Services
Self Help Books and Interesting Reading
James, J. W., & Friedman, R. (1998). The Grief Recovery Handbook: The Action Program for Moving Beyond Death, Divorce, and Other Losses. New York: HarperCollins
Neimeyer, R. A. (1998). Lessons of Loss: A Guide to Coping. Australia: Australian Center for Grief and Bereavement.
Sanders, C. M. (1999). Grief: The Mourning After, Dealing with Adult Bereavement. New York: Wiley.
Worden, J. W. (2002). Grief Counseling & Grief Therapy: A Handbook for the Mental Health Practioner. New York: Springer.
Kastenbaum, R. (2006). The Psychology of Death. New York: Springer
Trauma can occur when a stressful event (often unexpected) causes significant psychological distress. When psychological trauma persists and is re-experienced by the victim through flashbacks, nightmares, and/or unexpected triggers, the person may be experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
What are some natural responses to a traumatic event?
Changes in appetite and sleep
Avoidance of certain triggers that remind you of the traumatic event
What can I do to cope with a traumatic event?
Remind yourself that it is normal to experience psychological distress after a traumatic event
Remain consistent with your routines (eating, sleeping, exercising, social activities), even if they don’t feel as productive or enjoyable.
Spend some extra time relaxing or talking to friends, family, or other sources of support.
When should I seek professional help?
It may be helpful to speak with a counselor right after a traumatic event, but responses to trauma often go away within a couple weeks. If you find yourself experiencing symptoms after three or four weeks, you should consider talking to a counselor or other mental health professional.
* Special thanks to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention
More information and resources related to traumatic events