Subtle scars disappearing up a shirt sleeve, unexplained bruises, burn marks. As many as one out of every four young people engage in non-suicidal self-injury, defined as the deliberate destruction of body tissue without suicidal intent. Parents who uncover this alarming behavior are gripped by uncertainty and flooded with questions-why is my child doing this? Is this a suicide attempt? What did I do wrong? What can I do to stop it? And yet basic educational resources for parents with self-injuring children are sorely lacking. Healing after Self-Injury provides desperately-needed guidance to parents and others who love a young person struggling with self-injury. First and foremost, adolescent psychologists Janis Whitlock and Elizabeth Lloyd-Richardson believe that parents must appreciate how important their role is in their child's recovery; there is a lot that parents can do to support their self-injuring children. This book offers strategies for identifying and alleviating sources of distress in children's lives, improving family communication (particularly around emotions), and seeking professional help. Importantly, it also provides compassionate advice to parents with personal challenges of their own, explaining how these can impact the entire family. The book will help parents partner with their children to identify, build, and use skills that will assist them in recovering from self-injury. Vivid anecdotes drawn from the authors' extensive in-depth interviews with real families in recovery from self-injury put a human face on what for many families is a distressing and often isolating experience. Healing after Self-Injury is a must-have for parents who want to assist in their child's recovery, as well as for anyone who lives with, works with, or cares about self-injuring youth and their families.
Whitlock and Lloyd-Richardson have produced a book that is rigorous, accessible, engaging and full of practical guidance. They lay out a clear and comprehensive foundation to help families understand how self-injury develops, what it means, how it can be treated, and finally-and maybe most important-how young people and families can emerge from this problem with more insight and inner strength, and with stronger connections. I highly recommend this work for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of this complex and vexing phenomenon. -- Victor Schwartz, MD, Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry, NYU School of Medicine, and Chief Medical Officer, The Jed Foundation Drs. Whitlock and Lloyd-Richardson, experts in the field of self-injury, have produced a book that is equal parts evidence-based, empathic, and actionable. Self-injury need not be more frightening and confusing than other problems facing adolescents. I highly recommend this guide to parents seeking to better understand and help with their children's self-injury. -- E. David Klonsky, PhD, Professor of Psychology, University of British Columbia A must-read for anyone who knows a self-injuring teen! This beautifully-written and extraordinarily well-informed guide offers comfort, explanations, and a detailed plan for parents of adolescents suffering from one of today's most troubling and dangerous risky behaviors. Whitlock and Lloyd-Richardson are national experts on self-injury who have translated the science into a remarkably accessible and essential resource! -- Mitch Prinstein, PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, author of Popular: Finding Happiness and Success in a World That Cares Too Much About the Wrong Kinds of Relationships