This is my introduction to what I have learned, over the past 30 years, from listening to people who live with Self-Directed Violence (SDV). I have taught classes on this topic that have lasted two days or more, and they are a detailed exploration of the following three points. These are the ground upon which understanding and responding to people who live with self-injury, ourselves and others, stands. And yes, it is this simple:
There is always a reason that people self-injure.
That reason is rooted in the experience of trauma, often in childhood.
Taking the healing journey from trauma is taking the path to healing self-injury; they are not separate.
SDV serves a purpose for people or they wouldn’t do it. People who no longer have that need no longer self-injure. People who self-harm are neither crazy nor addicted. They are survivors. Self-injury is most often a tool of survival regardless of how destructive it may appear. Healing is finding life beyond survival. Although almost always a very arduous journey, it brings relief and comfort. SDV becomes no longer necessary. People often discover that life is more joyous than they could have imagined. Pretty cool.