Self-harm

Self-harming is not so much a deliberate attempt to hurt oneself, but more an attempt to feel better in times of distress.

We know that someone who self-harms is usually in a state of high distress. The self-harming behaviour is often an attempt to alleviate this distress. 

People who self-harm sometimes feel self-harming is the only way out of these feelings. They may not have other sources of support, so self-harm may be the only way they can find to soothe themselves.

While the self-harming behaviour provides an immediate release from their distress, it may be followed by other difficult feelings including:

  • confusion – it can be very puzzling to want to inflict pain on oneself
  • hopelessness – if they are trying to stop self-harming, they may feel hopeless in the face of their urges to do it
  • shame – people may judge themselves and feel ashamed for not being able to cope without self-harm
  • loneliness – self-harm is usually done in private and people can feel alone with it.

 This can create a cycle where these painful feelings trigger further self-harm.

Types of self-harm

The Royal College of Psychiatrists estimates that about 1 in 10 young people self-harm. However, self-harming behaviours can be found in people of all ages. Young women are more likely to self-harm than young men, though the reasons for this are unclear.

There are many ways that people self-harm. Cutting or burning the skin and pulling out hair are examples, as are binge drinking, having unsafe sex, not eating and excessive drug taking. There are many others.

Some people plan self-harm in advance while, for others, self-harm happens on the spur of the moment. Some people self-harm only once or twice, while others self-harm regularly. 

Self-harming behaviour is usually triggered by a distressing event. Some people will know what triggers their self-harm while others will have little understanding of what triggers them.

Our clients have reported great results!

Mr K
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“I was attending sessions at One Therapy practice for about 1 1/2 years. I am very happy with the result, sessions there really helped me. I am really grateful to my therapist. Someone recommended him to me as a high professional and it proved right, thank you.”
Mrs M
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“I can only provide positive comments on my sessions with (my therapist). This was my first experience with a therapist, and she managed to make me feel comfortable. And I must say that the sessions were helpful and efficient.”
Mrs E
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“My therapist was extremely helpful, considerate and understanding. I felt she properly understood what the issues I had were, and their underlying causes, and I feel I benefited considerably from the sessions with her.”
Mrs N
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“I immediately felt completely at ease as they were very professional while showing genuine care and interest in helping me. I was able to confront many issues which I had so far chosen to ignore despite their negative effects on my personal relationships and happiness. I would have no hesitation in recommending (One Therapy) to anyone looking to improve their relationships and self-esteem.”
Mrs L
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“I learned a lot about myself and about the relationships I make with other people. I was able to see where I was going wrong and I now make better personal choices. Thank you, again.”
Mrs R
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“I can’t thank you enough for the help and support I got from my appointments. I would highly recommend therapy to anyone now. Therapy helped me in more ways than I could have imagined. Please tell (my therapist) how grateful I am for her help.”

Getting to the bottom of the problem

The focus of counselling for self-harm is to understand the underlying causes. It can be a relief to the client to make sense of their behaviour, and that alone can reduce the pressure they feel and lessen their urge to self-harm.

Once they understand the causes, the client and therapist can also explore changes that the client can make. These may be aimed at reducing triggers or at finding other ways of coping when triggered.

The therapist’s understanding of the client can also make a huge difference. There’s something very powerful about having someone listen to you, understand what you’ve been through and appreciate how hard it’s been for you. When you experience that, you may feel more compassion for yourself.

Lasting results through counselling

Self-harming behaviour is usually treated through counselling or psychotherapy. Medication is not normally used for self-harm.

Our counsellors and psychotherapists have a great deal of experience working with people who self-harm. They are warm, empathic and non-judgmental. All sessions are confidential.

We know that it can be hard to talk about self-harm, and we won’t push you to discuss anything before you feel ready.

You can book an initial consultation online or by contacting us. It’s an opportunity to find out if counselling feels right for you, with no obligation to continue.

It may not be an easy step to take, but we think you’ll be glad you did.

What do I talk about in counselling?

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Does talking help?

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Counselling for individuals

Personal counselling can be about anything that is on your mind.

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Couples counselling

Couples counselling provides space for couples to discuss problems in their relationship and find solutions.

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Our therapists

We have over 30 qualified and experienced therapists to choose from.

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One Therapy London

Counselling, psychotherapy, couples counselling in London since 2006

Therapist Roz Urquhart
Roz Urquhart

Roz is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist, who offers both long- and short-term psychotherapy She works with a varied client group offering a welcoming, safe and confidential therapeutic space in which to help her clients explore and process the issues that are bringing them into therapy Roz supports her clients to focus on unconscious processes, inner conflicts and...

Oxford Circus

Therapist Andreea Gligore
Andreea Gligore

Andreea is an experienced integrative therapist who works with individuals, offering short- and long-term therapy Since qualifying in 2017, she has offered therapy in private practice, the NHS and community services She works with many issues including relationship dynamics, role and life stage transitions, bereavement, life-altering events, loneliness and isolation,...

Kensington

Therapist Stamatia Lorentzou
Stamatia Lorentzou

Stamatia draws on a broad range of theories of psychotherapy She works collaboratively with her clients to understand the causes of their concern and find ways to move forward Stamatia offers both short-term and longer-term therapy She has worked in various organisational settings with individuals seeking to address relationship issues, low self esteem, separation,...

Bloomsbury

Therapist Geraldine Lothian
Geraldine Lothian

Geraldine (she/her) is a psychodynamic psychotherapist who works with individuals Geraldine’s style of therapy is to work collaboratively with her clients and at each client’s pace  It is sometimes difficult to make the decision to start therapy but Geraldine works together with her clients to address any issues that may feel difficult to explore on their own ...

Oxford Circus

Therapist Amrita Athwal
Amrita Athwal

Amrita works with adults in an integrative way, drawing on various therapeutic approaches tailored to meet the needs of each client She provides a safe space to help clients better understand themselves She offers short term and long term therapy Amrita has experience of working with clients on issues such as trauma, addiction, depression, anxiety, relationship...

Bloomsbury

Therapist Evan Bates
Evan Bates

Evan is a psychodynamic therapist, offering both long and short term therapy He creates a non-judgemental and reflective space to help clients explore their difficulties and concerns Working together to understand the connections between past and current relationships, Evan supports clients in developing a deeper awareness of their recurring emotional patterns and further...

Soho

Therapist Tatjana Strbac
Tatjana Strbac

Tatjana uses an integrative approach to support individuals and couples through personal, professional and relationship difficulties, in a collaborative and relaxed environment in which they can safely explore their past and present experiences Tatjana aims to understand your needs and explore possible solutions by identifying the thinking, behaviour and emotional...

Oxford Circus

Therapist Ben Brackenbury
Ben Brackenbury

Ben believes that at times we all struggle with the challenges life has to offer and therapy provides a safe, confidential, non-judgemental space to explore this Ben works with individuals to make sense of who they are and how they respond to the world today, and to explore new ways of being Ben is also sensitive to how difficult it might be for a client to talk to a...

Oxford Circus

Therapist James Eve
James Eve

James is a psychosexual and relationship therapist who has been in private practice for five years He works with individuals and couples on sexual and relationship difficulties, understanding that these can be significant causes of distress in one's life Prior to working in private practice, James worked for the psychosexual team at Croydon University Hospital He is a...

Oxford Circus

Therapist Natasha Maidment
Natasha Maidment

Natasha is a person–centred counsellor and psychotherapist who will provide you with a safe, empathetic and non-judgemental space to explore any thoughts or concerns you wish to bring She works with a range of issues including anxiety, stress, critical thoughts, trauma, relationship issues, identity, depression, loss and low self-esteem Natasha offers a...

Oxford Circus