Can You Stop Self-Harming Without Therapy?
Is it possible to stop self-harming without therapy? As someone who walked the road of self-harm recovery alone for many years, I can tell you it's possible—but that doesn't mean it's your best option.
I Stopped Self-Harming Without Therapy
Like many people who self-injure, I suffered in silence, both when hurting myself and when I decided to stop. I skipped right over the step where you're supposed to build a strong support network of friends, family, and medical professionals and worked through the long and difficult process of healing on my own.
And guess what? It did work. I was able to stop self-harming without going to therapy.
But there are a couple of caveats to this story that you should absolutely pay attention to if you're thinking of skipping out on therapy yourself.
First, while I didn't attend any professional therapy sessions, I studied a bit of psychology in both high school and college, and I did my best to incorporate everything I had learned into my approach to healing. A bit of studying, of course, is no substitute at all for an actual degree—or real experience in the field. But having what knowledge I'd gathered from my classes did give me a few therapeutic tools right off the bat that I could use to get better. Without that bit of extra insight, I think I would have been pretty lost at first.
Second, while I didn't let anyone in on my secret for many years, that didn't mean I was flying fully solo. I had a support system; they just didn't know all the details of what I was going through. So while I didn't talk about my self-harm, I did force myself to talk about some of the other things I felt and did that were related to my self-injury. Knowing people cared was enormously helpful, even if they didn't always know what I was up to.
Finally, you need to know that I did eventually go to (online) therapy—it just didn't happen until I'd already been clean from self-harm for many years. I also didn't start therapy specifically for my self-harm. By that point, I was more focused on the bigger picture of my depression, some grief I had been struggling with, and my anxiety—all things which could easily have led me to relapse if I let them spiral too far out of control. Luckily, I've been able to avoid that outcome thus far.
Should You Try to Stop Self-Harming Without Therapy?
One thing I want to stress is that while I am a living, breathing example that some people can stop self-harming without therapy, that doesn't make it the right choice for you. Heck, I'm not convinced it was the right choice for me. Healing is already difficult. Trying to heal yourself without help is even harder.
But of course, the flip side of this argument is that therapy isn't the right choice for everybody, either. It may not be the right choice for you.
But if you haven't tried it yet, I would urge you to do so if you can. Whether you visit a local counseling center or seek therapy online doesn't matter; the point is to try it and see if it works—because it might. For many people, it does. I know it helped me, even though I waited longer than perhaps I should have.
Make sure, if you do give it a try, that you give yourself (and your therapist) enough time to clearly see how things are going before you choose to stay or go. One session may not be enough; try and attend a few, if possible. Keep in mind, too, that finding the right therapist is paramount to success here—I consulted with two before ultimately finding someone who seemed to understand me truly.
That being said, if therapy doesn't work for you, don't give up. It's not your only option for recovery; you can stop self-harming without therapy if you need to. Just know that it will take time, patience, and lots of practice.
Kim Berkley (2022, November 24). Can You Stop Self-Harming Without Therapy?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, December 7 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2022/11/can-you-stop-self-harming-without-therapy