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INFOBUS: Moving beyond self injury & other destructive behaviours

 

Next Thursday the 26th June we're welcoming Sarah Swannell as this month's guest clinician and inviting you to join us right here at 9pm (AEST) to have an informal discussion about moving towards healthier ways of coping with difficult emotions.... Some of the ways that help us cope but can be unhealthy or destructive to us are self harm, eating disorders, alcohol, drugs and other risky behaviour.  We'll chat about how to become more aware of your thoughts and emotions,  different ways of coping as well as how to support a friend or loved one who engages with these enhelpful ways of coping...

 

If you would like you submit an anonymous question for her to answer during the session, please submit your question here.

 

For now, here is a little more info about Sarah, we are really excited to have her join us!

 

Sarah is a registered psychologist. She works with individuals one-on-one as well as running therapeutic groups in Brisbane. Sarah is also a Senior Researcher in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Queensland.

 

One of Sarah’s main clinical interests is self-destructive behaviours - like suicidality, self-harm, eating disorders, substance abuse, and other impulsive behaviours. Sarah's work has been published nationally and internationally and she has presented at both national and international psychology conferences.

 

 

Sarah says her most recent accomplishment is the completion of her PhD - an investigation of  self-injury (non-suicidal). It included a large national study where over 12,000 Australians completed interviews about self-injury, suicide, substance use, child maltreatment, and other aspects of emotional and psychological health.

 

 

Online Community Manager

ReachOut.com

Re: INFOBUS: Moving beyond self injury & other destructive behaviours

Hey everyone! Welcome to Infobus for June. We’re really happy to welcome Sarah Swannell to talk tonight about self harm and other self-destructive behaviours. Also tonight I’ll be facilitating alongside Myvo, one of our awesome peer moderators. Sarah is a practising clinical psychologist as well as an academic that recently did one of the biggest studies in Australia into self injury and other destructive behaviours. Many people at some point in their life have dealt with difficult or painful emotions by doing self-destructive things. Tonight we'll be talking about those self destructive coping mechanisms like self-injury, eating disorders, drug and alcohol over-use.

 

Tonight’s session will be touching on self injury, please be mindful of how you speak about it, our goal is to get beyond the act and focus on the feelings behind it - we do not allow descriptions of injuries or the act. Please read the guidelines. The only words we encourage you to use are self-injury or self-harm. Please do not use any other descriptor. Just a quick note about terminology: technically, ‘self-injury’ refers to direct injury to the body without suicidal intent. On the other hand, ‘self-harm’ refers to self-injury and suicide attempts.It is important to make this distinction, because self-injury and suicide attempts should be responded to differently – that is, there are different ways to manage self-injury compared to suicide attempts.

 

The topic of self-injury can be very emotionally challenging so if you start to feel overwhelmed please take a step back and give some time to yourself. If you feel the need to talk to someone about what you are going through please talk to someone close to you or Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) or Lifeline(13 11 14).

 

So to get things started tonight, we’ve had an anonymous question submitted that Sarah is going to answer, but I’m keen to hear what everyone else thinks about it too. Thanks so much to the person who was brave enough to ask the question, it was:  Where is the line between a bad habit and self-injury?

Online Community Manager

ReachOut.com

Re: INFOBUS: Moving beyond self injury & other destructive behaviours

Thats a good question! The formal definition of self-injury is:

“the direct and deliberate destruction or alteration of body tissue without suicidal intent and for purposes not socially accepted.”

 So, anything you do deliberately to yourself that causes tissue damage (usually to the skin but also to internal organs and bones), that is not generally accepted by society as ‘normal’ behaviour (like tattooing and piercing, where the purpose is usually for beautification), is called “self-injury.” That includes things like biting your nails down to the skin, or pulling out hair, or scratching. Even though these behaviours may not seem serious, and can definitely become a habit, they are still classed as self-injury. Self-injury is done in response to upsetting or difficult emotions, thoughts, or memories. If you are engaging in a behaviour that you see as a habit but are worried it might be self-injury, pay attention to when you do it – you might find that if you pay careful attention, the habit is occurring in response to an uncomfortable feeling, thought or memory. In the end though, regardless of whether it is a habit or self-injury, if it is damaging to you in any way, you might want to start thinking about ways to change it.

Re: INFOBUS: Moving beyond self injury & other destructive behaviours

Does that answer make any sense?

Re: INFOBUS: Moving beyond self injury & other destructive behaviours

Hey everyone! Cat Happy

 

Where is the line between a bad habit and self-injury?

 

To me, the line between a bad habit and self-injury would have to be whether or not the activity has the potential to kill you or not.


My entire life can be described in one sentence: It didn't go as planned and that's okay. ツ
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Re: INFOBUS: Moving beyond self injury & other destructive behaviours

Hello everyone! Smiley Happy

 

It is awesome to be chatting about this topic tonight. It's not only just important to be aware of destructive behaviours, but to also know what to do to move forward and find help. With our first question, Where is the line between a bad habit and self-injury?

 


> I find that it can be difficult to find the line between them. I think that a bad habit can be impulsive, but it may not necessarily cause us harm. Self-injury does and like a bad habit, it can also be impulsive. 

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Stay excellent

Re: INFOBUS: Moving beyond self injury & other destructive behaviours

Hi SarahS! Thanks for being our guest tonight....

Online Community Manager

ReachOut.com

Re: INFOBUS: Moving beyond self injury & other destructive behaviours

Yep that answer makes lots of sense to me

Online Community Manager

ReachOut.com

Re: INFOBUS: Moving beyond self injury & other destructive behaviours

Hey @stonepixie . Thanks for joining us! 

___________________________________________________
Stay excellent

Re: INFOBUS: Moving beyond self injury & other destructive behaviours

That description makes perfect sense @SarahS 


My entire life can be described in one sentence: It didn't go as planned and that's okay. ツ