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Books on Self Injury


A Bright Red Scream: Self-Mutilation and the Language of Pain
By Marilee Strong

In A Bright Red Scream, Marilee Strong explodes the myths and stereotypes that have led many therapists to misdiagnose and mistreat cutters as failed suicides or masochists. Through interviews with dozens of psychiatrists, doctors, researchers, clinicians, and cutters, Strong explains how cutting can become a powerful coping mechanism for dealing with overwhelming emotional pain and gaining control over an out-of-control mind and body. She presents startling new biological research - including evidence of profound changes in brain chemistry and structure as a result of exposure to childhood trauma - that may explain why cutting is even more difficult to give up than alcohol or drug addictions or eating disorders. Finally, Strong includes information on what people with the affliction and those close to them can do to start the process of healing. (strongly recommended)

The Scarred Soul: Understanding and Ending Self-Inflicted Violence
By Tracy Alderman

It happens whenever a person deliberately and repeatedly cuts or burn themselves, or purposefully hurts themselves in some other way. It's disturbing and dangerous behavior, and so hard to stop that many researchers consider it a kind of addiction. This is the first book written for the victims of self-inflicted violence and the first to teach them what they can do to stop hurting themselves. The Scarred Soul explores the reasons behind the impulse to self-inflicted harm and shows readers how to examine its impact on their lives and take steps to overcome the psychological traps that lead to self-inflicted pain.

Everything You Need to Know About Self-Mutilation: A Helping Book For Teens Who Hurt Themselves by Gina Ng

Grades 7-10 - Defined as "the act of intentionally harming one's body for emotional relief," self-mutilation is an illness affecting as many as two million people in the U.S. Ng describes several categories of self-abuse, ranging from fairly superficial injuries to the amputation of a limb or castration. She indicates how to recognize the symptoms and notes the potential consequences. Further, the author offers information on where to find help and basic advice on what a friend can do for someone caught up in this destructive cycle. Throughout the text, anecdotes and black-and-white and color photographs put a human face on this particular disorder. The book concludes with a glossary and names and addresses of helpful organizations and Web sites. While Alicia Clarke's Coping with Self-Mutilation (Rosen, 1999) provides more detailed information on the disorder and available treatment options, this book will be a useful tool for guidance counselors, school nurses, and social workers and will appeal to reluctant readers.-Sylvia V. Meisner, Allen Middle School, Greensboro, NC Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Coping with Self-Mutilation: A Helping Book For Teens Who Hurt Themselves by Alicia Clarke and Carolyn Simpson

Self-mutilation is defined as the direct, deliberate destruction or alteration of one's own body tissue without conscious suicidal intent. This self-violence is often done as a way to handle overwhelming emotional pain and as an attempt to regain control over one's body. Because their behavior is out of control, people who self-mutilate usually need support to help them stop hurting themselves. Others who do less serious damage to themselves can learn more positive ways to deal with stress on their own. But before one can determine the treatment, one has to understand the problem. Self-mutilation is a hard topic to discuss. But, there is help available and people who understand how the individual is feeling. Reading this book is the first step to understanding self-mutilation and to finding positive, healthy ways to deal with emotional pain, anger, hurt, or abuse that may be causing the behavior. Most of all, this book offers hope that with addressing the behavior and replacing it with positive coping skills, self-mutilation can be successfully ended.

Bodily Harm: The Breakthrough Healing Program for Self-Injurers by Karen Conterio & Wendy Lader

"...written by the founders of the country's first self- injury treatment program...defines self-injury and offers some of the reasons behind it...addresses body image & the eating disorder connection." (I don't agree with this book, please read it before considering using their program)

The Luckiest Girl in the World by Steven Levenkron

A bright and attractive figure-skating star, Katie Roskova appears to be the luckiest girl in the world. However, the smile she presents to others cannot camouflage the pain she feels inside - panic at the thought of failure, anger at the ambitious mother she seems never able to please, and disappointment in the father who walked out on her when she was a small child. Unable to express her feelings outwardly, Katie internalizes her pain and experiences episodes that she terms "spacing out." There is a way to stop this feeling, what she calls her own private craziness, but it isn't pretty: Katie brings herself back to reality by cutting herself - taking a pair of scissors to her arm until she draws blood. Terrified that her shameful secret will be discovered, she only cuts herself in private and hides her scars beneath long-sleeve shirts. However, as the pressures mount, her self-injurious wounds become more serious - and soon she is no longer able to hide them from others. In this powerful novel, Steven Levenkron demystifies the shocking syndrome of self-mutilation - just as his best-selling The Best Little Girl in the World helped millions to understand anorexia.

Bodies Under Siege: Self-Mutilation and Body Modification in Culture and Psychiatry by Armando Favazza, M.D.

Although instances of deliberate skin-cutting are recorded as far back as the old and New Testaments of the Bible the behavior has generally been regarded as a symptom of various mental disorders. With the publication of Bodies Under Siege, a book described in the New York Times Magazine (July 17, 1997) as "the first to comprehensively explore self-mutilation," Dr. Armando Favazza has pioneered the study of the behavior as significant and meaningful unto itself. Drawing from the latest case studies from clinical psychiatry he broadens our understanding of self-mutilation and body modification and explores their surprising connections to the elemental experiences of healing, religions, salvation, and social balance. Favazza makes sense out of seemingly senseless self-mutilative behaviors by providing both a useful classification and examination of the ways in which the behaviors provide effective but temporary relief from troublesome symptoms such as overwhelming anxiety, racing thoughts, and depersonalization. He offers important new information on the psychology and biology of self-mutilation, the link between self-mutilation and eating disorders, and advances in treatment. An epilogue by Fakir Musafar, the father of the Modern Primitive movement, describes his role in influencing a new generation to "experiment with the previously forbidden 'body side' of life" through piercing, blood rituals, scarification, and body sculpting in order to attain a state of grace.

Cutting: Understanding and Overcoming Self-Mutilation by Steven Levenkron

Known as the illness of the 1990s, close to two million Americans and possibly more suffer from the psychological disorder of self-mutilation. The most prominent public admission was that of Princess Diana. Written for the self-mutilator, parents, friends, and therapists, Levenkron unravels step by step the mindset of the self-mutilator, explains why the disorder manifests in self-harming behaviors, and, most of all, describes how the self-mutilator can be helped. Through riveting case studies and conversations with his patients, the profile of the self-mutilator emerges: someone who is typically fearful of people and abandonment, whose attachments are hostile or tenuous at best, who lacks interpersonal trust, and who often can't stay focused in a relationship of any depth. Cutting tells the reader where to turn for help and offers important skills the self-mutilator must learn - what Levenkron calls the "Attachment-Dependency Trust Axis" - in order to overcome the affliction.

Mutilating the Body: Identity in Blood and Ink by Kim Hewitt

Mutilating the Body: Identity in Blood and Ink is an analysis of the different ways in which people use their bodies for self-expression that considers the significance of body modification and how different forms of body art and alteration serve individual and cultural needs. The book also addresses eating disorders, self-cutting, and ritualized consensual sadomasochism.

Stopping the Pain: A Workbook for Teens Who Cut and Self Injure
By Lawrence Shapiro PhD

If you’re cutting or hurting yourself you’re not alone. Thousands of teens across the country think that hurting themselves is the only way they can feel better, even though they continue to feel alone and out of control. There are a lot of reasons why teens hurt themselves. None of them are your fault. You can’t change your past, but there is a lot you can do, right now, to make your future a place you’d like to spend some time, a place free from the pain, loneliness and isolation of cutting. This workbook offers a great way for you to make it happen. The exercises in Stopping the Pain will help you explore why you self-injure and give you lots of ideas how you can stop. The book will help you learn new skills for dealing with issues in your life, reduce your stress, and reach out to others when you need to. Work through the book, or just check out the sections that speak to you the most. This is your own personal and private road map to regaining control of your life.

When Your Child is Cutting: A Parent's Guide to Helping Children Overcome Self-Injury By Sony Khemlani-Petal PhD, Merry McVey-Noble PhD, Fugen Neziroglu PhD ABBP A Compassionate Guide for Parents

As a parent, what's harder to deal with than seeing your child in pain? It's especially frustrating when you feel like you've exhausted the resources you could use to help him or her stop hurting. And if your child is cutting or engaging in another form of self-injury, a behavior that you simply can't make any sense of in the first place, this feeling of helplessness can be unbearable. This book offers you information and advice for dealing with a child who is hurting him or herself. Learn why self-injury happens, how to identify it, and how to address this sensitive topic with calm and confidence. Follow the book's clear and simple plan for communicating with your child about this problem. Connect with the best kinds of professional help to get him or her through this painful time. Above all, rely on this compassionate and clinically sound book to give you the one thing you really need when your child is in pain-hope. Learn about the causes and effects of self-injury Identify the signs of self-harm Communicate effectively with a child who is hurting him or herself Choose the best professional help Support your child's recovery