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Self Harm and psychologist having to tell someone?

So I hope this is something that can be asked on here, if not, I'm so sorry but not sure where else to ask.


I have been seeing a psychologist for a number of issues and one of the first times I saw them they asked if I ever hurt myself and I said no as I was and am still so ashamed and dissapointed in myself and didnt really want them to know, it was something I would do very occasionally but now things are going downhill and its becoming an everyday sort of issue and getting worse and I dont think anymore that I can get over this by myself which I initially thought I could.


So I think I need to tell them and get some help but I have a few concerns. 1. they will be so angry at me or dislike me because I didnt tell them when they asked the first time. 2. That even know I'm over 18 they might have to tell someone or make me tell someone. This is something I never ever want anyone to know about and I cant decide whether its worth the risk telling them??


I am just really really struggling at the moment and could definitely use some help - I'm not seeing them in person until feb as I have had to go home from university, I have their email for questions but I dont want to be annoying or overstep any boundaries by asking them what to do to get through the next few months or for them to call my parents or get cross that I emailed with something like this etc.. I have a tendency to say I am fine or getting better when things are actually going downhill, I  just feel bad that things arent actually getting better yet when I feel like everyone expects for it to Smiley Sad 


Does anyone have any experience with this/any ideas of what to do?


Thankyou so much for any replies.

Re: Self Harm and psychologist having to tell someone?

Hey @Charliex,


To answer no. 1, no I don't think your psychologist would take a disliking to you or treat you differently for not being up front regarding self harm. It would be unprofessional if they did. Also you wouldn't be the first not to be honest with psychologist/counsellor.


For no. 2, the only time someone will be told anything is when you're safety is at risk (and I'm talking more than self harm), and if they were to tell someone they would probably inform you beforehand. As long as you are physically safe, no one can be told any information you discuss with the psychologist unless you give consent.


And since you can't see the psychologist again until Feb, have you thought about giving a helpline a go? I personally recommend kids helpline 1800 55 1800 and they have a web option (and you don't have to tell them about the self harm right up front if you don't want to).


Hope this helps

Re: Self Harm and psychologist having to tell someone?

Hey @Charliex, you're awesome for sharing this story and I am really stoked you are seeking support around this.


From my viewpoint, and from what I understand about Mental Health professionals is that you shouldn't go too hard on yourself about being dishonest initially. This is common when presented with this question and your Psych will probably just encourage you to try and be more open moving forward, this is only so that you can get the right help, I highly doubt they will be angry though.


Secondly from my understanding so long as your life is safe they have a duty of care to keep everything confidential. I think it will be really rad for you to chat to your Psych about this as they can start working with you on strategies asap.


The email address they handed over, did they say you can email it anytime? If so that could be a good place to get in touch Smiley Happy


There's also this RO link for SH support  Smiley Happy 

Re: Self Harm and psychologist having to tell someone?

Thankyou both for your reply, that was super quick @Bree-RO @loves netball! I'm basically just a bit worried about the next few months and she did say to not hesitate to email her I just worry that this is a pretty big thing to drop over email and not sure how much she can do that far away and really dont want to be a bother.


I think I could tell her in person now I know she wont tell anyone about things like this but not sure this is a topic I can really say over email but feel like I really dont want to wait another 2 months? I dont want anyone to worry about me or anything like that

Re: Self Harm and psychologist having to tell someone?

@Charliex I used to always think this way about hassling my counsellor out of hours but he used to always say that's what the number is for. Remember too, MH professionals have an extensive amount of training and experience around Self Harm I reckon focus a little more on yourself and less on your Psych they have all the skills to deal with this  You're the one who needs support right now Smiley Very Happy

Re: Self Harm and psychologist having to tell someone?

Yes I probably just have to suck it up and email them! Thankyou for your help, I will try and see if I can write something to them and just hope that its ok to email about stuff like this

Re: Self Harm and psychologist having to tell someone?

@Charliex hey, cool username. I am a fan of the artist by the same name (if that's where it came from).


Some mental health places have rules about what you can send by email, it depends, but it definitely can't hurt to try! They will just ask you to let the Psychologist know in the next session. If that happens, remember that you can also write it out on paper, or even just show them a thread on here if that's easier. Good Psychologists are good at understanding that everyone has different ways of communicating Smiley Happy 

Re: Self Harm and psychologist having to tell someone?

How did you go contacting your psychologist @Charliex?


I was in a similar situation a while back of having to tell my psychologist that I'd been self harming. Nobody got angry at me or disliked me for self harming - mental health professionals understand that a lot of people use self harm to cope. I reallly wouldn't expect any anger or anything because you didn't tell them the first time - self harm is tough to disclose to someone you just met! 


Basically with them having to tell other people what's going on for you, generally that only happens if you are in immediate danger or if you're going to put someone else in immediate danger - for example, if you told them that you had a plan to kill yourself or someone else within 24 hours of the session. I was 18 when I saw my psychologist and he didn't tell anyone else about my self harm. The only thing they might do is encourage you to seek medical attention if it's severe. 

Re: Self Harm and psychologist having to tell someone?

Thanks so much for the reply @DruidChild
I haven't been brave enough to yet, still worrying about it

Re: Self Harm and psychologist having to tell someone?

@Charliex It's normal to be worried about telling someone something so personal, especially when you aren't sure what will happen. It doesn't mean you're not brave enough. Maybe emailing them would be easiest? Or would feel more comfortable waiting until the next time you see them?