Beyond Fear and Control: Working with Young People Who Self Harm

Editor : Helen Spandler, Editor : Sam Warner

Beyond Fear and Control: Working with Young People Who Self Harm

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Also by Helen Spandler

Also by Sam Warner

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"Beyond Fear and Control" discusses ways in which services can change the focus from managing or 'stopping' self harm to working with young people in more permissive, 'young person centred' and empowering ways. Although the need for such a change is increasingly being recognised, the practical implications and ethical dilemmas of this shift have rarely been explored. This book addresses this gap by providing in-depth descriptions of a range of innovative practices which are effective in supporting young people who self harm. People harm themselves in many ways and for many different reasons. Whilst we recognise that there is a complex relationship between self harm and suicide, this book is about supporting young people who use self harm primarily as a way of coping with distress. In this context self harm can be viewed as - the expression of, and temporary relief from overwhelming, unbearable and often conflicting emotions, thoughts or memories, through a self injurious act which they can control and regulate. Undoubtedly young people who self harm arouse strong emotional reactions in most people including fear, helplessness, confusion and anger.Responses are often based on a need to try and protect or rescue young people from danger. However, our heightened emotional response, coupled with myths and misunderstandings about both young people and self harm, can lead us to respond in ways that, rather than being empowering and helpful, can be felt as controlling and harmful.

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