In-Mentis Integrative Psychology: Understanding self-harm

In-Mentis Integrative Psychology: Understanding self-harm


The rate of people who self-harm has increased considerably in the last few years, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. 

Around two to four percent of the total population engage in these kinds of self-inflicted acts. Additionally, NHS reports that at least 10% of adolescents in the UK have harmed themselves.

Struggling from self-harm or other mental problems? The professionals at In-Mentis Integrative Psychology can help.

What is self-harm?

Self-harm is a deliberate behaviour done to cause pain to one’s own body. However, self-harm is not done with the goal of dying.

The different types of self harm

There are various types of self-harm, it is not limited to just cutting yourself. An individual may engage in one or more of these behaviours. Additionally, there may be more self-harm techniques that are not mentioned in this article.

Some examples of the ways in which people physically hurt themselves include:

  • Cutting
  • Hitting
  • Burning
  • Pulling out hair
  • Scratching until blood is drawn
  • Biting
  • Breaking bones

Other types of self-harm

General unhealthy practices, which are also considered forms of self-harm, are eating disorders, alcohol or drug abuse, promiscuity, reckless behaviour. These are all behaviours in which people are not taking care of themselves.

It is very easy to say “stop doing that” to someone who is engaging in these sorts of self-harm. However, those behaviours serve some kind of function or coping mechanism for the individual and until they have an alternative to this behaviour, they won’t be able to stop.

Why people self-harm

There are several motives as to why people commit these acts on themselves. Two of the main reasons behind these actions are communication issues and perfectionism.


The main thing we have to understand about self-harm is that it is a form of expression as well as a way of communicating. When a person can’t find the words to express the intensity of their suffering and needs, they need to find a different way to communicate it, like letting it out of the body.

Sometimes a person’s emotions are too painful and intense to be described in words and self-harm is a way of tolerating, accepting, and handling those emotions.

If a person feels that what they say is always seen as undervalued, rejected, or wrong by their family, friends, or colleagues, they are going to stop talking about their feelings, thoughts, ideas, beliefs.

Additionally, it is a red flag when there is a “perfect” teenager, with whom there is no quarrel, or who doesn't have their own opinions that differ from their family’s. Maybe they are not opening up in their family environment, because they don`t feel they can do it, and this can lead to self-harming actions.


Sometimes, people seek perfectionism. They can try to do everything right or constantly try to reach very high standards, but the problem is that no one can ever achieve them.

The real goal of perfectionism, usually, is to think that it will be a way of being accepted and loved. The problem is that we are going to fail in that goal because no one can be perfect, all the time, in everything, from everyone’s point of view. Striving for perfection is going to cause negative emotions like guilt and shame. It also reinforces our negative beliefs about ourselves (e.g., I am not good enough, I am a failure).


Individuals who self-harm can get in this endless loop of difficult emotions. This is because they don’t know how to handle and tolerate these feelings and don´t know how to express it, so they harm themselves, then they feel guilt and shame over having done that action and the person starts the cycle again.

In-Mentis Integrative Psychology: Self-harm treatment programme

At In-Mentis Integrative Psychology, their therapists get to the cause of why this person has to self-harm, which is only a symptom that tells that this person is suffering and doesn’t have any other way of handling certain situations that they are facing.

In-Mentis Integrative Psychology also works with the client’s family to see what changes can be made to help the person with self-harming. They have a specialised programme with phases to help people and especially teenagers with self-harming issues. The programme gives clients strategies and alternatives for what to do when those negative feelings arise. They also help with developing emotional skills, for instance self-esteem, as well as social and communication skills.

Contact In-Mentis for more information

For more information about their self-harm treatment programme or any other mental health programmes they offer, you can visit the In-mentis website, call (+31) 620 382 274 or email [email protected].



Leave a comment