Understanding Self-Injury in the Context of Trauma and Dissociation

Thursday, 1 March, 2018

By: Lyndsey Karns, PsyD, Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Self-injury or self-mutilation, a seemingly paradoxical coping mechanism, has been widely misunderstood by the public and to some degree by mental health and medical professionals as it relates to trauma and dissociation.  Self-injury can manifest in several forms and degrees of severity, with the object and goal to experience physical pain or discomfort by inflicting bodily harm.  Cutting is the most commonly thought of form of self- injury, but it can include scratching, pinching, hair pulling, punching objects, headbanging, and burning.  Despite its common association with Borderline Personality Disorder, self-injury is not indicative of any specific mental illness or the presence of any mental illness at all. (more…)