Over the years I have seen many trends come and go working with teens. Unfortunately cutting is one of those trends right now. Cutting is commonly done as a way for someone to release their internal pain. If they feel the pain of the cut, it lessens the pain inside. This can be very addictive for some- similar to how someone feels when they are on drugs or drinking and experience a high. But just like drinking and drugs- after you sober up- the problem still remains and has not gone away. Cutting or scratching can be done on any part of the body but is commonly done on arms, wrists, thighs, stomach, or hips.
Cutting isn’t always about being suicidal- although many cutters can escalate to that point. It is much more about gaining control when they feel out of control. As a teen, life can be pretty crazy and feel out of control on it’s own especially when you add on significant stressors like a parents divorce, being abused, not fitting it, etc.
The important thing to know is that there are treatments that can help if you know someone who is cutting. One of the important things in treatment is to help identify their stressors and come up with alternatives to cutting when under that stress. Accountability is also a big part of the therapeutic relationship. Seek help immediately is you suspect someone is suicidal or you have noticed depression. This is not something that should go untreated!
Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.