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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Why do I harm myself?

    I have recently began severely self harming again, regularly, after around 3 years of no self harm. It is probably the worst it has been. I did see a psychologist about this for 6 or so sessions but I don't think it has helped me too much. I should note only 2-3 sessions revolved around self harm. My question I suppose is why I do this to myself. I make sure that nothing I do will be visible to others as I don't want anyone to know. I should also note, I am more or less as content with life as I think I can be at this point in time and it can be very frustrating not understanding why I do this to myself, and potentially why I enjoy and dislike it at the same time. I do think I need some more insight into this issue as it is no doubt related to some depression and past anxieties I used to have. I appreciate any responses in regards to this.
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    You might find it helpful to join this on-line support community for people who self-injure; .

    Disclosure: I am one of its volunteer administrators.

  • 1


    Georgina Watts

    Counsellor, Psychotherapist

    I am passionate about journeying with people on their road to wholeness. I work with males and females who are needing to work on self … View Profile

    Although I cannot say why you are self-harming again I can offer some insight into why people self-harm. Sometimes people can use it as a way of dealing with painful experiences, difficult feelings or other types of pressure in life; usually there is something that is needing to be communicated (psychological or physical trauma, inner turmoil or intolerable emotional pain); trying to find a solution to a problem and to make themselves feel better; or it has become a coping mechanism.

    Sometimes if we have had to deal with things going wrong in our lives for so long it can become stressful if things start to go well as we can start to get anxious about when it is going to end.  If we don't believe deep down we deserve to be happy then when we are happy we need to "punish" ourselves for the happiness and possibly revert to self harm.

    Regardless of why it has started up again it is causing you frustration and possibly some negative self thoughts. The liking and hating of the same thing comes from a number of different parts of you: the one that needs to self harm to maybe feel something; the part that doesn't want to self-harm because you thought you were over doing that and so on. Journalling both sides out on paper may help you get a better understanding. Alternatively making an appointment to see a psychologist or counsellor may be useful at this time.

    please note that finding a counsellor/psychologist that suits you can be difficult. if you are seeing someone and you don't seem to "click" then it is okay to ask them to refer you to someone else or for you to look for another counsellor/psychologist to help.

  • 1


    David 'Bhakti' Gotlieb has 30yrs experience and brings understandng, compassion and surgical precision that gets results for his clients.He developed ‘Healing Inner Conflict’ a simple, … View Profile

    IN my thirty years of experience I have never seen anyone do something without a good reason, however there is a big difference between intention and methodology, and context is everythng. There will be a very good reason why one part of you uses a method called self-harming. The most common is that it is a distraction from something else and  the self-harming is a way to help dissociate from a seemingly bigger pain. This is part of the emotional autonomic system. Healing Inner Conflict(HIC) was deveoped working with levels of dissociation and notices four basic of which is self-medication whereby one part tries to help another part feel better but often using an insensitive or seemingly ineffective method to do so. These signals can relatively easily be follow to find out the source of the disturbance and then bring help to the process and parts that need effective internal interventions in order to get the same otucome of feeling better with a more sensitive method...and in most cases this is simply the ability to effectively grieve that which needs greiving something that most likely will have been a bad idea in a particular context, often early childhood or a later traumatic incident. Hope this helps, feel free to contact me for more details or clarifications, good luck, happy to help, Cheers Bhakti (David)

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