Self Harm

A person experiences thoughts or acts of hurting oneself (such as cutting or hitting) often while trying to cope with intensely negative feelings such as numbness, meaninglessness, frustration or pain. Although there may be some relief or a brief sense of control where there seems no other respite, it is often scary and isolating. Reaching out to those closest to us could feel potentially even more distressing. 


When you begin working with a therapist, managing self-harm or suicidal ideation takes highest priority. Safety planning is a process that you and your ASTEP counsellor would engage in, to determine a deep understanding of what triggers, builds, maintains and escalates your self-harm related patterns (thoughts, feelings and behaviors). Your immediate responses, resources, particularly social support, and ability to interact with these self-harm or suicidal cycles with increased control, are brought together into a plan that you learn well and practice staying safe with.


For all clients we see individually, especially for children and young adults, we insist that we involve the social support person(s) in therapy in a way that is useful for the primary client. Please go through the "How Therapy Works" page for pertinent information.