How to Get Started With Behavioral Therapy for Self-Mutilation ATI
If you’re struggling with self-mutilation, you don’t have to struggle with it forever. Learn how to get started with behavioral therapy for self-mutilation ATI.
Last Updated on October 3, 2021 by Ellyssa

If you are struggling with self-mutilation, there are ways to get started with behavioral therapy for self-mutilation ATI.

Self-mutilation is an act of self-harm that involves cutting, burning, hitting, scratching, or otherwise injuring oneself. It is often used as a way to relieve stress or pain.

It’s a prevalent concern because self-injury affects up to 4% of American adults.

Self-mutilation rates are even greater among adolescents, with roughly 15% of teens and 17% to 35% of college studentsreporting some type of self-mutilation. This is often due to poor coping skills and dealing with a lot of psychological challenges.

There are many different types of self-mutilation. Some people cut themselves because they are angry or sad. Others use self-injury to cope with depression or anxiety. 

 Here’s a beginner’s guide on how to get started with behavioral therapy for self-mutilation.

Behavioral Therapy For Self-mutilation ATI

Step 1: Recognize the symptoms and causes

Self-injury is usually associated with mental illness such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, eating disorders, and substance abuse.

There are several types of self-mutilation including cutting, burning, scratching, biting, hitting oneself, and inserting objects into the body. The most common type of self-mutilation is cutting. Cutting involves removing part of the skin with a sharp object.

Some underlying causes of self-harm could include:

  • Seeking comfort from stress and anxiety
  • Distracting the mind from painful thoughts and depression
  • Seeking control over your body by hurting it in a specific manner
  • Finding it hard to cope with a problem in a healthy manner
  • Coping with a distressful environment at home
  • Trying to feel your emotional pain in a physical way
  • Trying to communicate your pain in a non-verbal manner

Self-injury can be triggered by a variety of factors, the most fundamental and evident of which is negative stress. To prevent your struggles to escalate to suicidal attempts, it could be helpful to seek a medical diagnosis as soon as possible.

If left untreated, you never know when it might turn into a suicidal attempt. As a result, look out for self-injury behavior in yourself or your loved ones.

Some of the symptoms may include the following:

  • Recurrent cuts, bruises, and scars on the arms, legs, and even torso.
  • Wearing fully covered dresses on the hot summer days as an attempt to cover up scars or bruises
  • Frequent ‘accidental’ injuries
  • Tendency to keep some sharp object with yourself (it could even be a sharp pencil)
  • Display of low self-esteem and avoiding communication
Behavioral Therapy For Self-mutilation ATI

Step 2: Consider all of your treatment options


Self-injurious behavior can’t always be stopped without treatment. Treatment focuses on helping you learn new ways of coping with your feelings and behaviors. It might involve medication if it helps reduce symptoms.

If you’re hospitalized because of severe injury from cutting yourself, doctors will work closely with nurses who specialize in wound management. They’ll monitor how well you heal and make sure any infections don’t get worse.

You may need surgery to repair damage caused by cuts or burns.


Behavioral therapy for self-mutilation ATI can come in many forms.

In psychotherapy, a therapist is a mental health professional who helps patients understand their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Psychotherapists use different techniques depending on what they think will most effectively address each person’s unique needs.

Some common types of therapy used to treat self-injury problems include cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy and interpersonal/psychodynamic therapies.

There are even some treatments that focus on helping you cope with stressors outside of self-injury. For example, cognitive restructuring techniques teach you ways to change unhelpful thinking patterns and develop coping strategies to deal with stressful situations.

Other approaches address trauma symptoms directly. Trauma-focused interventions aim to prevent future traumatic events and promote healing after past traumas.

Behavioral Therapy For Self-mutilation ATI


Some medications can reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression and impulsivity. They’re often prescribed when there’s evidence of a coexisting psychiatric condition, such as depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.

The treatment of these disorders may reduce your urge to harm yourself.

Psychiatric hospitalization

A doctor may recommend that you be admitted to a hospital for psychiatric treatment if you injure yourself frequently or severely. As a short-term solution, hospitalization can provide a safer environment and more intensive treatment during a crisis period.

You may also consider mental health day programs. These allow you to go into a mental health facility during working hours and go home for the evening.

Self-help groups

To complement professional medical treatment, you could also join a support group. Many local community centers offer free weekly meetings where participants share experiences and learn coping strategies. Some communities even sponsor online forums where you can connect with others who’ve been through similar situations.

Supportive environments like this can provide valuable insight into what works and doesn’t work when dealing with difficult feelings. They can also give you ideas for ways to cope with stressors outside of hurting yourself.

Behavioral Therapy For Self-mutilation ATI

Step 3: Go to behavioral therapy for self-mutilation ATI

Starting an individualized treatment plan for self-harm involves multiple steps.

After getting your self-injury behaviors assessed by a health care provider, you might begin working with you through dialectical behavior therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy – also known as “talk therapy”.

When used in conjunction with medication and other treatments, behavioral therapy can be an effective treatment for long-term recovery.

So how do you begin with the treatment of self-mutilation with cognitive behavioral therapy?

As part of your individualized treatment plan, you might go through these steps:

  1. You’ll tell your doctor about your medical history:This helps your doctor or mental health professional figure out what may have prompted the your self harm behaviors.
  2. You’ll make sure you’re in a safe environment: Behavioral therapy for self-mutilation works best if you to feel safe in your therapeutic relationship with your psychotherapist. Attend a few therapy appointments to make sure that you feel comfortable, respected, and safe in your mental health care space. 
  3. You and your therapist will identify unhealthy patterns:After you are comfortable with the therapeutic relationship that you have with your psychotherapist, you might start talk therapy to identify any harmful or unhealthy habits you might be using to cope with your mental health disorder. These habits could include mental thought processes as well as physical coping mechanisms like self-harm. All of this is part of your self-harm treatment.
  4. You and your therapist will establish healthier coping mechanisms:At this stage, your therapist should help you develop healthier habits that work for you. This phase takes time and it often involves trial and error. Your therapist might try strategies such as deep belly breathing, guided imagery, or even hypnosis to help prevent you from harming yourself. As you both learn what healthier coping mechanisms work best for your situation, your therapist should help you feel more in control, calm, and self-reliant. Even though you may continue therapy appointments in the future, it’s important that a mental health professional equips you with tools that make daily living enjoyable for you despite struggling with your mental health.
Behavioral Therapy For Self-mutilation ATI

In Brief

If you want to stop engaging in self-harming behaviors, then you need to first understand why you engage in them. Working through this in a safe mental health setting with a licensed mental health professional can be a great option for this.

Once you know why you hurt yourself, you can find new ways to deal with those emotions without resorting to self-destructive methods. If you don’t address the root cause of your emotional pain, you won’t be able to change your destructive behaviors.

The good news is that there are many different options available to treat self-mutilating behaviors. Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy have proven to be some of the most successful therapies for treating self-mutilation. 

To start behavioral therapy for self-mutilation ATI…

  1. Notice your symptoms
  2. Consider your treatment options
  3. Advocate for yourself to get a personalized treatment plan – either at a self-harm treatment center or at a hospital
  4. Work with your psychotherapist by sticking to that self-harm treatment.

It’s not necessarily easy but it’s worth it.

Self-harm treatment involves emotional health and physical health to be considered in a safe mental health setting under the guidance of a trained mental health professional. That means that things could take a long time or a short time to get better. It all depends on your situation – and every self-harm situation is valid.

Even when you aren’t in the presence of a mental health professional, try to prioritize your emotional health and physical health. Think of it as self-harm treatment through self-love.

To gain some clarity on your mental health and self-harm struggles, you could use My Therapy Buddy’s anonymous self-therapy tool. It’ll always be free and anonymous – no sign-up required. Give it a try now to start feeling better in minutes! 

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Behavioral Therapy For Self-mutilation ATI