There are several reasons why children self-injure, including to reduce tension felt in their bodies, to relieve emotional pain, for a sense of “control,” or as an unhealthy outlet to express their emotions they feel they can’t otherwise do.
It is very important to find help for a child who self-injures and help establish healthy methods of emotional expression and communication.
Read below for Dr. Leia’s advice for parents of children who self-injure, including considering Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, a natural approach to help address trauma, anxiety and stress, depression, and more in children and adults.
When a Child Self-Injures
Question for Dr. Leia: Do you have any suggestions for a child—my daughter—who does self-injury? I do not want her to see a psychiatrist; I want to use all natural ways to get her through this if possible. Can you offer any insight or advice, please?
Dr. Leia’s Answer: If your child is inflicting wounds to herself and her physical body, you must take her in to see a professional therapist for help. When a child is inflicting self-injury, it usually means that she has developed unhealthy ways of coping with her emotions.
Is there something or someone in her immediate environment who is causing this emotional distress to your child? Look around your environment. And take a hard, honest look at yourself and the life you have created for your child. Are you emotionally stressed? Is the environment around you unsafe or unhappy? How is your ability to cope with her? Are you often irritable, upset, and angry? Or perhaps you take out your emotions on your child? You should also consider whether or not she been emotionally or physically abused by someone.
Has Your Child Witnessed Emotional or Mental Trauma?
Children are extremely sensitive beings and often react to their parents’ emotions, even when you think that you are protecting or keeping your emotional worries, fears, and sadness to yourself. Children can sense your hidden emotions at all levels, and then they begin to act out these emotions—sometimes in unhealthy ways.
It is imperative that you seek the help of a professional therapist who has had experience in dealing with children who have this disorder. I can see that you are adamant about not using chemical drugs and that you want to get your child treated naturally. Understand that treatment of children with this type of disorder does not always involve drugs, even when visiting a sensitive mental health counselor or therapist.
Here is a resource to help you better understand her self-injury problem, click > HelpGuide.org
Eye Movement & Desensitization Reprocessing
Next, you will want to learn about a natural method which professionals practice to help people of all ages to release their emotional, physical, and mental traumas. It can be a very effective method that is natural.
To learn about EMDR, click > Eye Movement and Desensitization Reprocessing
After you have read the above information, then you need to find a therapist who is an expert in this field.
You can find someone in your area, by clicking > Find an EMDR Therapist
If you cannot find a qualified therapist from the resource above, then please call your local city or county mental health department and ask if there are any available therapists who can help your child using natural methods. I think that you will be pleasantly surprised to find several available resources. Please do not try to do it all by yourself. It is okay to ask for help in a time of need such as this.
To read about case studies, click > Case Studies of EMDR for Self-Injury
I sincerely hope that you take the necessary actions to help your child. I believe that you will see the importance of getting immediate help for your child and yourself so that she can have a trauma-free and healthy life. Good luck in your endeavors, and I urge you to take action as soon as possible for the safety of your child.