VIRTUAL-Understanding and Treating the Complex Puzzle of Non-Suicidal Self-Injury


VIRTUAL-Thursday, January 12, 2023, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM-
$109 including CEUs
Understanding and Treating the Complex Puzzle of Non-Suicidal Self-Injury
Barent Walsh, Ph.D.

One of the most challenging problems for clinicians and other professionals is dealing effectively with non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI). Of special concern is that self-injury has moved from clinical populations such as those served in hospitals and group homes to the general population including middle, high school and college students.
This presentation will focus on understanding, managing, and treating diverse forms of self-injury including arm and body cutting, self-inflicted burning, excoriation of wounds, and other more serious examples such as NSSI requiring medical attention and foreign body ingestion.
Self-injury will be distinguished from suicidal behavior in terms of a number of key characteristics but will also be discussed as a major risk factor for suicide attempts. The topic of social contagion of self-injury will also be addressed.
A “Stepped Care Approach” regarding the management and treatment of self-injury will be reviewed, including:
Step I:
•           The informal response
•           Crisis assessment (when needed)
•           Detailed cognitive-behavioral assessment
Step II:
•           Replacement skills training
•           The biology of NSSI
•           Managing and preventing social contagion

A stepped care approach is used so that clients and families receive only as much support and targeted treatment as they need. Very practical suggestions in dealing with self-injury will be provided.

Following this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Differentiate self-injury from suicide, while also recognizing that ongoing self-injury is a risk factor for suicide attempts
  • Review two steps in a stepped care approach in assessing, managing, and treating self-injury
  • Understand, manage, and prevent social contagion of self-injury
  • Discuss the topic of self-care in working with person who self-injure

Barent Walsh, Ph.D. has written extensively and presented internationally on the topic of self-destructive behavior. He is the author of three books on non-suicidal self-injury, including Treating Self-Injury: A Practical Guide 2nd edition, Guilford Press, (2014). This volume has been translated into Japanese, Korean, Dutch and Polish.

Dr. Walsh is Executive Director Emeritus and Senior Clinical Consultant at Open Sky Community Services, a human service agency headquartered in Worcester, MA. Dr. Walsh is also a Lecturer on Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School at Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge, MA.

Dr. Walsh received the following recognition in 2021:

“On behalf of the International Society for the Study of Self-Injury (ISSS) Board of Directors, we would like to honour your extensive contributions to the field by inviting you to be an Invited Fellow of ISSS. This invitation reflects the highest recognition of your many contributions to the field, notably your seminal work and publications in the areas of assessment and treatment of self-injury.”

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