Understanding Self-Harm

Self-harm is the deliberate infliction of damage to your own body, and includes cutting, burning, and other forms of injury. While cutting can look like attempted suicide, it's not; most people who mutilate themselves do it as a way to regulate mood. People who hurt themselves in this way may be motivated by a need to distract themselves from inner turmoil, or to quickly release anxiety that builds due to an inability to express intense emotions.

Recent Posts on Self-Harm

Hitting the Gym, Too Much

By Lybi Ma on February 15, 2015 in Brainstorm
Is exercise addiction real and harmful?

What Do Your Tweets Reveal About You?

It makes sense that we could tell something about someone’s political leanings based on their Twitter rants, but can we tell more about a person from their tweets?

Helping a Partner Who Engages in Self-Destructive Behaviors

As Valentine’s Day approaches, couples become more mindful of the ways in which they can show their love through caring gestures and gifts. However, many people are in a relationship with a significant other who is grappling with some form of self-destructive behavior. Learn the do's and don'ts that can help you navigate this difficult and emotionally charged issue.

Understanding PTSD, TBI, Suicide and Student Veteran Success

Research shows that the transition from the intensity of military life to a more independent civilian life can be overwhelming. Recognizing and understanding special symptoms supports the important objective of increasing the success of many veteran students on campus. It is important to share this information about the needs of student veterans.

Why Are Men More Likely Than Women To Take Their Own Lives?

Efforts to prevent suicide must take into account some apparently paradoxical differences between men and women

Overprotective Parenting Doesn't Work

As it turns out, negotiating real-life, reasonable risk can be a very good thing for kids. It can teach them that they have power in this world--or someday will. That they’re competent. And that sometimes, if you really really want something to happen, you have to MAKE it happen, without mom or dad’s help--even if it’s scary to try.

Doctors Need to Listen More

By Arthur Dobrin D.S.W. on January 26, 2015 in Am I Right?
A keen listener is a good diagnostician. Doctors once knew this.

Inheriting Suicide

By Mark Borigini M.D. on January 25, 2015 in Overcoming Pain
According to the current psychiatric literature, adoption, twin, and family studies have established that suicidal behavior is familial. Disturbingly, what is passed down from generation to generation is suicide or suicide attempts, and not just suicidal ideation. Photo: Google.

Healing the Shame of Childhood Abuse Through Self-Compassion

Shame can be the most damaging effect of child abuse--compassion is its anecdote.

Bill Cosby’s Legal Team: Playing Hardball with PTSD Victims

By Deborah King on January 07, 2015 in Mining the Headlines
You've been drugged and sexually assaulted. How would you feel about talking about it?

Empty Incubation

By G.A. Bradshaw Ph.D., Ph.D. on December 20, 2014 in Bear in Mind
Denied their native heritage, the life of captive-bred parrots reflect their colonizers' imprisoning mentality and anguished search for the bright vitality of love.

Holiday Stress

In the thick of the holiday season, it is important to set reasonable goals and realistic expectations about this time of year in order to maintain good mental health. Here's how.

Sex Addiction as a Sex-Positive Concept

The sex addiction recovery movement not only complements the progress made toward a sex-positive culture, it reinforces it. Sharing and exploring not just our greatest sexual joys and discoveries, but our struggles and pain as well, is the path to an integrated and holistic model of sexuality.

Self-Mutilation, Eating Disorders, and Suicide

Using attachment theory to explain how addictive connections to pain and suffering develop, I discuss various kinds and functions of self-harm behavior. From eating disorders to self- mutilation and body modifications such as tattooing, I explore the language of self-harm, and the translation of that language and its psychological functions.

The Spirit of Suzan Shown Harjo

By Michael Friedman Ph.D. on November 05, 2014 in Brick by Brick
Suzan Shown Harjo, one of the most revered human and civil rights leaders in the country, has dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of Native Peoples. Her message: “Native” team names and images are racist, they destroy the mental health of actual Native children, and this racism must stop.

Why People Cut

By Jessica Grogan Ph.D. on November 04, 2014 in Encountering America
Cutting may be more of an attempt at self-soothing than self-harming.

Filling the Hole in Your Heart: Recovering from Childhood

By Peg Streep on October 23, 2014 in Tech Support
The human conundrum is that we are hardwired to need and want deep emotional connections with our mothers during infancy and childhood and that being deprived of those connections has lasting effects. But recovery is possible.

How Panic Spreads With Fears of Ebola

By Robert L Leahy Ph.D. on October 21, 2014 in Anxiety Files
Why is Ebola leading to panic? Cognitive science can tell us how we misperceive risk and how we get carried away with our fears.

Resources for People With Borderline Personality Disorder

By Randi Kreger on October 19, 2014 in Stop Walking on Eggshells
This is a space for people with borderline personality disorder who have specific suggestions about how they recovered or what specifically helped them, including sites, blogs, books, and more. Please focus on recovery.

Going to the Root of the Problem

We often displace our true emotions, like hurt, and conceal them with anger. So, anger’s not the true culprit, although it’s the one that manifests itself most often. If we get so absorbed in dealing with anger we miss the big picture… We avoid going to the root of the problem.

What's Behind Our Secret Habits and Superstitions

By Teri Woods Ph.D. on October 14, 2014 in Compulsive!
Ever wonder why some folks (you?) are compelled to act in odd ways?

Fear Itself

By Glenn C. Altschuler Ph.D. on October 14, 2014 in This Is America
Drawing on research in evolutionary biology and an informed interpretation of American history and literature, Chris Walsh analyzes the relationship between courage and cowardice, the distinction between physical and moral cowardice, and argues that the idea of cowardice has faded in significance recently, and reappeared with somewhat different connotations.

Why has Kelli Stapleton Polarized the Autism Community?

By Amy S.F. Lutz on October 10, 2014 in Inspectrum
The case of Kelli Stapleton, sentenced this week to 10-22 years after attempting to kill herself and her autistic daughter, Issy, has divided the autism community. Is it possible to raise awareness of the profound challenges faced by those with severe autism and intellectual disability and their families without excusing attempted murder?

Sleeping Thrills

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on October 09, 2014 in In Excess
Sexsomnia is a condition that is highly prevalent among sleepwalkers and is where people engage in sexual acts while still asleep and can include masturbating and fondling of either themselves or others, or oral sex and sexual intercourse with another person. But what psychological research has been carried out on the topic?

I Am (Not) My Body

By Nick Luxmoore on October 06, 2014 in Young People Up Close
A baby doesn't think of itself as anything other than a body. That subjective sense of 'me' as distinct from 'my body' comes later, comes gradually, and by the time they're teenagers, young people are still wrestling with the distinction.

The Internet, Suicide, & How Sites Like PostSecret Can Help

When people who are depressed or suicidal go to the internet for help, research shows that their conditions tend to worsen. Disturbing stories of online suicide voyeurs make us fear the worst, but in reality, the dynamics at play here are unknown. We look at the research, our fears, and how communities like PostSecret are working to bring people help and hope.

The Faces of Male Borderline Personality Disorder

By Randi Kreger on September 22, 2014 in Stop Walking on Eggshells
We have so much information about women with borderline personality disorder. But men too can suffer from low self-esteem, insecurity, and enormous self doubt that can compromise the stability of their intimate relationships. Because we've tended to stereotype men as the 'tough ones,' we've missed the boat on understanding the complexity of their inner world.

When a Teenager is Talking About Suicide

In the wake of the loss of Robin Williams, suicide has come front and center for most of us. Yet suicide is unique and a special case in teenagers. Many parents feel at a loss talking with their kids about suicide. In this blog we try to provide some guidance to helping parents assess when to worry, and what to do, in the event their teen talks about dying.

An Authoritative Look at ADHD

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on September 01, 2014 in How To Do Life
An interview with Stephen Hinshaw about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Fifty Shades of Nay

By Robert J King Ph.D. on August 25, 2014 in Hive Mind
Kinkiness and abuse are two different things. Scaremongering and moralizing, disguised as science, denies female sexual agency