Cutting Self Harm Counseling in Boulder and Longmont
Does your young daughter seem to hold herself to impossible standards that stress her out all of the time? Have you noticed cuts or bruises on her body that, when asked about, cannot be explained? Are you concerned that your daughter might be experimenting with self-harm behaviors and you’re unsure how to help her? Do you blame yourself?
If you answered yes to any of these questions you’re not alone. There has been a disturbing rise in self-harm behaviors with adolescent girls over the last decade. Research has found that 15% of teens report participating in self-harm behaviors. Self-harm behaviors are defined by intentional and repetitive acts of harm towards oneself that are impulsive and not intended to be lethal. Self-harm behaviors include skin cutting, biting, or burning; hitting of one’s head and body that causes bruising and drinking harmful toxins.
When parents discover their daughter is exhibiting self-harm behaviors, they will likely feel fear, confusion, and guilt. It’s important to recognize that her behaviors indicate that she is experiencing deeper emotional and mental distress. Self-harm behaviors are maladaptive, coping strategies for regulating intense thoughts and feelings. Adolescent girls cut themselves to express, control, and witness emotional pain often brought on by the vulnerabilities and stressors in interpersonal relationships and environment. While self-harm behaviors create temporary physical pain, they also induce a sense of positive feelings and relieve once performed. The idea of cutting oneself on purpose, to feel better is usually mind-blowing for parents.
If you recognize your daughter is performing self-harm behaviors, it’s important to get her help as soon as possible. Her brain wires quickly to the cycle of (stress + cutting = relief) circuitry and this pattern is harder to break over time. The competent staff at Colorado Women’s Center are here to help your daughter in her recovery. Girls at the highest risk of developing these behaviors have perfectionistic tendencies and unreasonable high achieving expectations they place on themselves. We recognize the overwhelming stressors your daughter faces to be smart, attractive, and to be liked by everyone. Stress management and affect tolerance are key to a successful recovery.
As her parent, you also need support. We offer parent coaching sessions, as well as parent/daughter sessions to help facilitate healthy dialogue. We can help support you as you support her in her recovery. It’s important that you express your concerns with her in a calm and nonjudgmental way. It’s also important that your daughter feels loved and supported and that she has you as an ally in healing from self-harm behaviors. It’s natural to blame yourself for not protecting your daughter, and we are here to help you in recognizing that it’s not your fault and you’re not alone.
The staff at Colorado Women’s Center will support your daughter in understanding what drives her self-harm behaviors. With a nonjudgmental stance, her therapist will explore with her the emotional and mental stressors that lead her to self-harm. She will learn skills to self-soothe, express, and communicate her feelings with herself, her peers, and you. She will learn to manage her stress more effectively while understanding how the unreasonable expectations she puts on herself, contributes to her suffering. While self-harm is scary, treating it properly can provide an opportunity for your daughter to develop positive coping skills to weather life storms. Utilizing these skills will serve her in becoming a confident and resilient adult.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment at our Boulder and Longmont locations.