Seeking Help! Counseling for Cutters in Salt Lake

Have you heard that cutting and self-harm behaviors in Magna, West Valley City and Tooele are a problem and all too common?  Have you ever wondered what treatment options are available, or, why people cut? If so, this information will likely be helpful for You…

Parents may or may not be familiar with the term “cutting.”  Once a rare term, it is quickly becoming more colloquial and even a “label” in some cases.  You may have heard your children refer to a friend as a “cutter.”  What does all this mean? The clinical term is self-injury or self- harm.  This refers to someone who intentionally harms him or herself for purposes other than suicide.  It is not a problem unique to Magna, West Valley, or Utah.  This is a complex problem and is becoming more and more common everywhere.  If your child isn’t struggling with it, chances are they know someone who is. The best thing to do is arm yourself with knowledge, so when the topic comes up you will know what to do.

Seeking Help for Those who Cut –Why Do People Cut?

What is cutting exactly?  Cutting is one of the more common types of self-harm.  Self-harm can also be burns, bruises, carving into the skin, biting, pulling out hair, etc.  It can be essentially anything that is done with the intention to harm oneself without causing death.  Some people that self-harm can be suicidal while others are not.  Self-harm is not typically suicide or a suicide attempt.   It is simply a way to inflict physical pain to oneself for an emotional purpose.  The most commonly affected areas are arms, wrists, legs, thighs, and torsos.  These areas are easy to reach and can be easily hidden under clothing. Cutting is typically done in isolation and often kept a secret.

Why do people harm themselves? Believe it or not, self-harm usually occurs to release pain.  On the surface that doesn’t make much sense.  Self-harm is a compulsive act of inflicting physical pain to release or control emotional pain. Self-harm is not new.  It has been a psychiatric issue for a long time, but in recent years has grown immensely more common.  Like any unhealthy coping skill, self-harm is a “quick fix” to achieve a temporary calm, release or control emotional pain, express strong emotions, punish self, or can sometimes be a way to seek attention.  Not all self-harm is done to seek attention.  It is most commonly done in isolation and kept secret.

Provide Support not Criticism to Those Who Cut in Salt Lake City

What can be done?  Actually, quite a bit can be done.  The first step is to be educated about what it is, why it occurs, what to look for, and how to help.  Many people that self-harm report feeling triggered by strong emotions and/or stressful life events and seek immediate relief. Thus, it actually may feel better to cut than deal with life’s myriad of emotions! Not true, but cutting can become quite addictive.  Self-harm is typically done as an impulsive act.  This impulsive, secretive behavior can be a cry for help.  Self-harm may be a sign of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, borderline personality disorder, abuse issues, and more.  Look for warning signs.

Warning signs include:

  • scratches, scars, burns, bruises, or cuts that are new or recently healed
  • spending long periods in isolation
  • keeping sharp objects on hand
  • wearing long sleeves even in warm weather to cover marks
  • difficulties in close relationships
  • sudden changes in behavior
  • unstable or impulsive behaviors or emotions
  • claims of feeling hopeless, helpless, stuck, sad, depressed, or worthless
  • changes in everyday mood, school performance, or friends
  • low self-esteem
  • body image issues
  • recent loss (relationships, friendships, death, etc.)
  • rapidly changing or strong emotions

Seeking Counseling in Salt Lake City For a Family member who Cuts

While self-harm is not itself a mental health disorder it can be a sign of one and is treatable.  The best thing to do if you’re concerned about a problem is to communicate openly.  Becoming hysterical, angry, or overly stern about the issue likely won’t help; usually it will only make the situation worse.  The best thing you can do is express love, concern, help, and hope. Then seek support, helpful resources and counseling.

If you suspect a loved one may be cutting, express your love for them and your concern for their pain and unhappiness.  Self-harm doesn’t happen because someone is happy and healthy.  It is a sign that something more serious may be going on.  This is a great time to open the communication lines, listen, and offer help.  Talking, listening, and offering love and support are never bad ideas when raising children and teens.  Further help may be necessary.  If you have questions, please give our office located in the Magna and West Valley City area a call.  I can be reached by following this link.

We are more than happy to talk to you.  If you live in the Salt Lake or Tooele Valley areas, we can help you and your family heal and get life back on track and decrease or curtail cutting and self harm behaviors.

For more information on self-harm, check out these great articles:

Andrea Egbert, CSW is a therapist at England Counseling Services who specializes in assisting children and teens with mental health issues in the Salt Lake City, Magna and Tooele areas.  Andrea is accepting new clients and can assist those who struggle with cutting and self-harm behaviors.  Please contact her today to begin the process of healing.

Getting Started
Nov 13th