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Windham & Leibovich PC
"Therapy That Makes Sense"
1016 Greentree Rd
Pittsburgh, PA 15220
Cutting and Self-Injury
Cutting and self-injury are not topics that are commonly discussed, however, research
indicates that they are a growing problem. While the typical self- injurer is a white female
between the ages of 14 and 40, this issue effects individuals of both genders and all races and
walks of life. At Windham & Leibovich our therapists have many years of experience with
helping self-injurers to stop their destructive behavior while learning new and positive coping
skills to help them more successfully navigate their lives. We understand that self- injury is
most often an addiction which develops when the self-injurer uses physical pain to deal with
powerful and difficult emotions and address it as such while simultaneously addressing the
underlying issues that lead the self injurer to engage in this harmful behavior. Drawing wisdom
from the recovery model and using psychotherapeutic techniques informed by both the
cognitive/behavioral and dialectical/behavioral model we strive to help the self injuring person
end their self destructive behaviors and the negative self image that underlies them.

Cutting is the most common type of self-injury. "Cutters" typically use razors, knives, broken glass
As stated above, many cutters report that this behavior helps to relieve stress for them or helps
them to deal with powerful and painful emotions. However, most cutters report that they feel a deep
sense of shame and guilt about their cutting, and make attempts to keep their behavior hidden
from others by wearing concealing clothing, or by cutting parts of their body not typically seen by
others. These feelings of shame and guilt often lead to feelings of self-hatred and to further
episodes of self-injury, thus creating a vicious cycle similar in nature to addiction.

Although people cut for a wide variety of reasons, some of the most
commonly reported are:

  • They find it comforting
  • To Communicate something they can not say with words
  • As an attempt to get the attention of others or get help for
Some Common Themes of Self-Injury:
  • There is a major change in the self-injurer's  life
  • There is a history of violence or abuse in the family
  • The self injurer experiences intense feelings of fear, anger or rejection
  • The self-injurer feels a need to gain control over some aspect of their lives.
Treatment and Recovery:
Windham & Leibovich we have years of experience working with those who self-injure and know
that it is possible to learn healthier and safer ways of dealing with painful
emotions.  We treat self-injurers using a multi-modal talk therapy approach that includes the use
of Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and
non-judgemental exploration of the underlying causes of the self-injurious behavior.

If you or someone that you love is struggling with self-injury, please call to
learn how we can help.