CCEF: Ed Welch on Self-Injury

I’ve talked about how I get biweekly counseling from CCEF (Christian Counseling Education Foundation) in the past. I attended the foundation’s annual conference last year and have since received their bimonthly newsletters. This month, Ed Welch, licensed psychologist and author of more than more than six books and booklets (some of which are on my Helpful Reading list to the left), wrote an article about self-injury and the relief that comes from the pain. Obviously, he doesn’t advocate it but delves into the thought processes behind it and how to work on controlling the urge with God’s help. Here’s an excerpt.

Self Injury: When Pain Feels Good
   
  By ED WELCH
  The Journal of Biblical Counseling • Winter 2004
   
  If you have never purposely hurt yourself, it seems impossible to
understand those who have. After all, don’t living creatures avoid pain?

   
  But, if you have purposely hurt yourself, such behavior seems
necessary, normal, even right. In fact, like a diabetic giving herself
an injection, it can feel like a temporary cure.

   
  This article assumes that you feel trapped in a cycle of
intentional self-injury. Some asides are directed to loved ones who are
listening in. If you want to help, realize that cutting and similar
behaviors have their reasons-and you even will find similar roots in
your own heart. If you are the one who feels trapped by the behavior,
know that the cure is much more attractive than you think. Right now,
you may hate your behavior, but you also feel like you need it.
Self-injury might be your way to protect yourself from something worse.
To give it up feels like a huge risk. And it would be – if you had no
other alternatives. But there is a better way.

Read the rest if you’re interested (pdf).

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3 Comments

  1. April 23, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    Thanks for posting this. I have a friend whose daughter is going through a cutting phase. I’ll send this link to her, if that’s OK with you.

  2. April 23, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    That’s fine with me, Michelle. Hope it helps.

  3. April 24, 2008 at 8:47 am

    I hope it helps, too. Her teenage daughter has started therapy.


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