Healing Self-Injury A Compassionate Guide for Parents and Other Loved Ones

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2019-02-01
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Subtle scars disappearing up a shirt sleeve, unexplained bruises, burn marks. As many as one out of every four young people engage in non-suicidal self-injury, defined as the deliberate destruction of body tissue without suicidal intent. Parents who uncover this alarming behavior are gripped by uncertainty and flooded with questions--why is my child doing this? Is this a suicide attempt? What did I do wrong? What can I do to stop it? And yet basic educational resources for parents with self-injuring children are sorely lacking.

Healing Self-Injury provides desperately-needed guidance to parents and others who love a young person struggling with self-injury. First and foremost, adolescent psychologists Janis Whitlock and Elizabeth Lloyd-Richardson believe that parents must appreciate how important their role is in their child's recovery; there is a lot that parents can do to support their self-injuring children. This book offers strategies for identifying and alleviating sources of distress in children's lives, improving family communication (particularly around emotions), and seeking professional help. Importantly, it also provides compassionate advice to parents with personal challenges of their own, explaining how these can impact the entire family. The book will help parents partner with their children to identify, build, and use skills that will assist them in recovering from self-injury. Vivid anecdotes drawn from the authors' extensive in-depth interviews with real families in recovery from self-injury put a human face on what for many families is a distressing and often isolating experience.

Healing Self-Injury is a must-have for parents who want to assist in their child's recovery, as well as for anyone who lives with, works with, or cares about self-injuring youth and their families.

Author Biography

Janis Whitlock, Ph.D., is a Research Scientist in the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research at Cornell University, and is the founder and director of the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery. Dedicated to linking cutting edge science with on-the-ground efforts to support and enhance the lives of youth and their families, her research focuses on adolescent and young adult social and emotional health and wellbeing, sexual violence prevention, and the role of social media in health and development. She is best known for her work on non-suicidal self-injury. In addition to conducting research in these areas, she is dedicated to making research accessible and useful to those best positioned to make a difference in the lives of youth, such as parents and youth-serving professionals.

Elizabeth E. Lloyd-Richardson, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. She is a licensed Clinical Psychologist with specialized training in adolescent health risk behaviors. She began conducting research on and interviewing teens who self-injure nearly two decades ago, and has extensive experience in developing and running research programs that aim to promote healthful behaviors in adolescents and young adults. She has authored over 60 papers and book chapters in the areas of non-suicidal self-injury, weight management, and substance use and abuse.

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