Adolescent Self-Harm Disorder is most often categorized as an Impulse-Control Disorder or an Addictive Behavior, characterized by adolescents showing repetitive behaviors of cutting, burning, or harming themselves in other ways. Adolescent Self-Harm Treatment works to help uncover and identify the underlying stresses and conflicts present in the adolescents’ lives that are causing these harmful behaviors; work with adolescents to re-establish a sense of self-worth, while abolishing harmful false belief systems; and teach new healthy behaviors and stress coping mechanisms to adolescents to implement in the future.
The first step of Adolescent Self-Harm Disorder Treatment, after assuring that the teens’ harmful behaviors are stopped and that the teens are physically safe, is to work with teens to uncover what stressors are present in their lives. It’s very common for teens with Adolescent Self-Harm Disorder to be experiencing severe feelings of anxiety, shame, guilt, and Depression, sometimes because of or related to a past traumatic event. By working with teens to uncover these stressors, therapists can support teens to begin making the connections between their thoughts and the triggered impulses, which then result in the harmful behavior. Even the step of teens beginning to recognize this process in themselves is very powerful in helping them begin to understand how to change their behaviors.
Secondly, Adolescent Self-Harm Disorder Treatment entails therapists working with teens to identify any negative feelings of self and/or false belief systems that are in place. It’s common for teens to believe negative, untrue things about themselves and their situations that they’re not even consciously aware of, but are contributing to their increasing feelings of shame, guilt, self-doubt, anxiety, and overall stress. Therapists work with teens to recognize and change these beliefs, while also implementing positive behaviors, practices, or even hobbies that can bring a positive force to their lives. Some of these positive programs we implement with adolescents at Paradigm include things like athletic programs, yoga, meditation practice, art, drama, and working with animals. We find that including of such therapeutic programs such as these helps teens to more actively engage in their treatment process, adding to joy and positivity to their lives, even during this difficult time.
Lastly, Adolescent Self-Harm Disorder Treatment also works with teens to help them develop and practice new behaviors and coping mechanisms, in response to stress and conflicts in their lives. These tactics and resources may include things like positive ways of engaging in difficult conversations, practicing breathing exercises, using exercise to relieve stress, and changing nutrition plans. The idea behind this holistic work is to help teens address their own lives as thoroughly and completely as possible, so that when they return home, they’re not only no longer harming themselves, but they are setting themselves up to succeed.
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