Understanding and Responding to Self-Harm Book Summary - Understanding and Responding to Self-Harm Book explained in key points
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Understanding and Responding to Self-Harm summary

Allan House

The One-Stop Guide: Practical Advice for Anybody Affected by Self-Harm

4.2 (41 ratings)
18 mins

Brief summary

"Understanding and Responding to Self-Harm" by Allan House is a guide for caretakers, health workers and family members on how to recognize, respond to and support those who self-harm or self-injure. It includes case studies, treatment methods and resources for further learning.

Table of Contents

    Understanding and Responding to Self-Harm
    Summary of 6 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 6

    Self-harm is an action carried out by an individual to deliberately inflict pain or damage to the self. 

    Learning about self-harm can be a confusing experience. There’s a lot of material available online, but some of it can seem melodramatic or designed to shock. Let’s try to reduce this confusion by exploring what we actually mean when we talk about self-harm. 

    The key message here is: Self-harm is an action carried out by an individual to deliberately inflict pain or damage to the self. 

    This is a useful definition because it keeps things broad and simple. 

    The term “self-harm” relates to physical damage of the body. It’s important to note that self-harm is not a mental disorder, and it’s not a label that describes a person. This is important because people who self-harm are often described as “self-harmers.” Labeling someone like this is damaging – it implies that his self-harm defines him and that this aspect of his behavior is fixed and unchangeable. 

    It’s also important to note that self-harm is intentional, in that the person deliberately damages himself as the end goal of the action. This differentiates it from activities like binge drinking or starving oneself in order to be thin. Although these activities may also cause harm, the person’s primary intention is not usually to hurt herself. 

    We can also see that this definition of self-harm doesn’t specify a reason why people harm themselves. 

    This ambiguity is deliberate – self-harm can include suicide attempts, as well as acts that are definitely not suicide attempts. When someone harms herself, we can’t make any assumptions about what her intentions were. Not every act of self-harm is a suicide attempt. With this being said, research has found that people who self-harm have a much higher suicide rate than the general population. 

    Now that we understand the broad definition, we can begin to explore how people harm themselves. The two methods of self-harm are self-injury, such as with a blade, and self-poisoning, such as an overdose. 

    Many people assume that self-harm only means injuring oneself. If you google self-harm, you will see lots of images of people cutting themselves. In contrast, we usually assume that people who overdose intend to commit suicide. But this is a false distinction. In reality, self-injury and self-poisoning are often not that different from each other. Both are acts of self-harm, and both might be associated with either wishing or not wishing to die. Tellingly, people who repeatedly harm themselves will often alternate between these two methods. 

    In the next blink, we’ll take a closer look at what self-poisoning and self-injury commonly involve. 

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    What is Understanding and Responding to Self-Harm about?

    Understanding and Responding to Self-Harm (2019) explores how and why people deliberately harm themselves. Drawing on real-life examples, these blinks reveal the reality of self-harm and offer some tried and tested strategies that can help sufferers recover. 

    Understanding and Responding to Self-Harm Review

    Understanding and Responding to Self-Harm (2021) is a compelling resource for anyone seeking to comprehend and address self-harm behaviors. Here's why this book is definitely worth reading:

    • It offers a comprehensive overview of the topic, exploring the underlying reasons behind self-harm and equipping readers with valuable insights.
    • With its practical strategies and evidence-based approaches, the book provides tangible ways to support individuals who self-harm and promote their well-being.
    • The author's compassionate approach and deep understanding of the subject bring a human element to this sensitive topic, making it relatable and engrossing.

    Best quote from Understanding and Responding to Self-Harm

    If you ask someone who has self-harmed about it, they will almost certainly tell you a story about their personal circumstances.

    —Allan House
    example alt text

    Who should read Understanding and Responding to Self-Harm?

    • People struggling with self-harm
    • Friends and family of those who are self-harming
    • Anyone interested in learning more about mental health issues

    About the Author

    Allan House is a Professor of Liaison Psychiatry at the University of Leeds. Professor House was previously the Director of the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, where he focused on education and applied health research. 

     

    A short note before we begin: These blinks contain descriptions of self-harm, bodily injury, mental illness, bullying, and suicidal ideation.

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    Understanding and Responding to Self-Harm FAQs 

    What is the main message of Understanding and Responding to Self-Harm?

    The main message of Understanding and Responding to Self-Harm is to provide insights, strategies, and guidance for understanding and supporting individuals who self-harm.

    How long does it take to read Understanding and Responding to Self-Harm?

    The reading time for Understanding and Responding to Self-Harm varies depending on reading speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Understanding and Responding to Self-Harm a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Understanding and Responding to Self-Harm is a valuable read. It offers important insights and practical guidance for those who want to better understand and support individuals who self-harm.

    Who is the author of Understanding and Responding to Self-Harm?

    The author of Understanding and Responding to Self-Harm is Allan House.

    What to read after Understanding and Responding to Self-Harm?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Understanding and Responding to Self-Harm, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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