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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What can I do about my daughters continuous skin picking?

    My daughter has Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum, Moderate Intellectual disability, ADHD Tic Disorder and ODD. She picks at sores on her skin until they bleed and picks her nails down until they bleed or come off, here fingers and toes. Any suggestions to help this stop would be very much appreciated, thank you for any help.
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  • 1




    Emma Pinn

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    I'm a Clinical Psychologist who has expertise working with children, adolescents, young people, and adults in managing anxiety, depression, emotional problems, insomnia, low motivation, and … View Profile

    I suggest that you speak to your GP, or others in your healthcare network, about finding a psychologist experienced in behavioural modification. Behavioural modification is essentially about finding strategies to reduce harmful behaviours, and then replacing harmful behaviours with more adaptive/less harmful behaviours through a system of positive reinforcement. Both yourself and your daughter would be involved in this treatment. The psychologist would have to do a functional analysis of your daughter's skin picking and associated behaviours before being able to provide an intervention that addresses her skin picking.
    If your GP or current network of health practitioners can't suggest a psychologist, you can contact the Australian Psychological Society ( and ask for help from them in finding a suitably qualified practitioner.

  • 1


    Anthony Berrick


    Emma is absolutely correct.

    Make sure you look for a psychologist who has experience with skin-picking as this is quite a specialised issue. The behavioural therapy for skin-picking and tic disorder is called habit reversal training (HRT).

    A good child psychologist should also be able to help with behaviour modification strategies to assist with the ADHD and ODD behaviour issues.

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