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Self Harm If you or someone you know is struggling with self harm and needs advice or alternatives, we're here to help.

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Emmylou Offline
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Self harm and confidentiality in counselling - November 28th 2017, 06:05 PM

I scratch my skin with a pin - is this self harm even though it just leaves scratches that don't always even bleed.
I currently go to counselling through school because of another issue but if i tell my school counsellor about this will they have to tell my parents and the school ? I know confidentiality can be broken for self harm but i wasnt sure if confidentiality is only broken with serious or life threatening cutting?
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Re: Self harm and confidentiality in counselling - November 29th 2017, 03:31 AM


What I am going to say is from personal experience.

I am going to say that in terms of high school, self harm is self harm. The thing is that they are still liable for you and so if something does happen to you, they could be held responsible if they knew about it and didn't say anything.

My own experience is when I first started self harming, the tool I used wasn't something that made what you could consider "serious" injuries. But it was still taken seriously and mentioned to my parents so I could get further help. The thing with self harm is that a lot of the time it starts out superficial and then escalates. The other thing is that regardless of the type of self harm, it is still valid and there are still some thoughts, feelings, and emotions behind it that should be addressed.

I know this may turn you off from telling the school counselor, but I want to mention a few things:

As far as "as well as the school" I am not sure who you are referring to. My school counselor got my school psychologist involved, but besides that it was left confidential. My teachers didn't know why I was meeting with a guidance counselor. So it's likely your teachers won't know what happened unless you want them to.

Your guidance counselor may be able to help tell your parents in a way that helps them to understand the situation better. It would be a mediated discussion where the guidance counselor facilitates, and they may be able to get across to your parents what self harm is and how they can help you. They wouldn't leave you to explain everything all by youreslf.

Even if you don't talk about the self harm directly at first, you can start off by talking about some of the feelings and events that may have lead you to be triggered to self harm and possibly ask for ways to manage stress and emotions differently. But I still encourage you to be honest with your school counselor. You do not deserve to go through this alone and you deserve support.

Take care,

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Re: Self harm and confidentiality in counselling - November 30th 2017, 11:22 PM

According to this thread, what you're doing does sound like it's self-harm. It doesn't have to bleed for it to be counted as self-harm, and even if it didn't fit any of the technical definitions, the fact that you're doing this and that it seems to be bothering you means that it's worth addressing.

As Dez said, it's easy for behaviour like this to escalate, which is one of the things that makes self-harm so dangerous and difficult to deal with. Soon enough lines can get blurred and what felt like "enough" before may not give you the same relief it once did, and you might find yourself doing more damage as a result. That's why it's so important to start dealing with it as soon as possible, so that you don't give it a chance to get worse and you can find other, safer outlets for your emotions.

I would encourage you to ask your counsellor about their confidentiality policy as that's the best way to get an idea about whether they would have to tell anyone if you opened up about the self-harm. For example when I started seeing my last counsellor I asked her about confidentiality, and she explained that unless I posed a serious risk to myself or somebody else she wouldn't be obligated to tell my parents. It was a little nerve-wracking asking her so directly, but it did mean that I was then able to understand what her policy was and how much I could tell her without her having to break confidentiality.

Remember that the more honest and open you are with your counsellor, the more support and advice you'll receive in return. It can be scary to talk about things like self-harm, but in the end it will be worth it because it will mean that your counsellor (whose job it is to help you) will be able to work with you to come up with ways to deal with both the self-harm itself and the issues behind it.

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Re: Self harm and confidentiality in counselling - December 1st 2017, 10:00 PM

Well this depends on whether or not using the pin across your wrist is out of boredom or to feel something because you are feeling so much pain on the inside that you need an external pain on the outside.
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Re: Self harm and confidentiality in counselling - December 2nd 2017, 08:50 AM

Originally Posted by BusyGirl1995 View Post
Well this depends on whether or not using the pin across your wrist is out of boredom or to feel something because you are feeling so much pain on the inside that you need an external pain on the outside.
Self harm can be done for a number of reasons. Some people do it because of a lot of internal pain because it gives them a way to express that. However, some people, will have times when they will do it out of boredom. There were a few times when I would self harm out of boredom and it still counted as self harm.

OP, I think that you have been provided with a lot of positive suggestions. I definitely think that you should consider talking to the counselor about how confidentiality works. I know, my therapist never really talked to my parents about my self harm but that was because they were already aware of it. They just were not aware that it was as bad as it was. Talking to the counselor is the best way to get an answer and figure out how to best go about getting help.

I understand that you are worried about your parents finding out but you might need to let them in on what is going on so that you can get the proper help for the self harm.

I hope that this helped and if you need anything feel free to message me.

Best regards.

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