Clients often come into my office looking for positive coping skills for overcoming self harm.
In addition to therapy and treatment, one small coping skill that I teach my teen clients involves placing a temporary, body-positive tattoo on the place where they feel like hurting themselves.
Every once in a while, the fashion industry creates a product that actually helps teenagers. Many of you have probably already seen these gold, temporary tattoos on the shelves of small boutiques around Los Angeles or on www.consciousink.com.
I use these temporary tattoos all the time with my clients, and especially with teen girls. Part of overcoming the desire to cut involves, empowering teens to view their bodies as sacred spaces.
When a teen is engaging in cutting behaviors we often spend time talking about the beauty and worthiness of their own body. We talk about way that they can begin to love their own skin and stop fighting against it. Then I ask my client to put one of these tattoos somewhere where she would often cut. For parents, its often good to keep a pile of these somewhere at home. That way anytime the teen feels like cutting she can spend ten or so minutes putting on a tattoo, waiting for it to dry, and looking at it. I find that by the time the tattoo is dry the desire to cut has lessened.
***Disclaimer: If you or anyone you know is currently struggling with self-harm, I recommend seeking out the care of a mental health professional.