Self-harm (also known as self-injury, self-mutilation, and cutting) occurs when a person intentionally and repeatedly inflicts pain upon himself or herself. Self-harm can come in many forms, including cutting, burning, punching oneself, banging one’s head against a wall or other hard object, drinking harmful substances (like bleach), and purposely breaking one’s bones. A common misconception is that people who purposely harm themselves are doing so in order to get attention, but this is typically not the case. People tend to use self-harm as a way to gain a sense of control over the negative emotions that they experience. There are people who feel like their inner pain is so strong that they need to inflict outward pain in order to find a brief sense of reprieve from the emotional pain.
Inpatient programs have been known to be successful in treating individuals who self-harm. Valley Behavioral Health System provides a variety of treatment options to help meet the needs of people suffering from the ongoing desire to injure themselves. We are located in Arkansas River Valley and are the only facility in the state of Arkansas that provides our patients with private rooms during an inpatient stay with us. Our caring and dedicated professionals do everything they can to ensure that every person who receives treatment with us is provided with confidential and empathic services. We tailor fit our treatment plans so that the unique needs of each individual is met. You do not have to continue to hurt yourself. We can help you develop tools that will aid in your healing. We want you to be able to live the happy life that you deserve to live.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
Watching a loved one participate in self-harming behaviors can be frightening and heartbreaking. You might be struggling to understand why people would ever want to hurt themselves on purpose. You might even be wondering if something you did played any role in the onset of these behaviors. But the important thing to remember is that self-harm is not about you as the parent, friend, or loved one; it is solely about the person acting out the behaviors.
It is imperative that people who self-injure receive treatment because it can be extremely difficult to stop the behavior without help. However, it is uncommon for people who self-harm to seek out treatment for themselves. These individuals might be embarrassed by their behaviors and don’t want to be put in a position where they have to explain themselves to anyone; it is easier to just keep it a secret. As a result, approaching your loved one about getting help should be done delicately. It should not be presented in a way that makes your loved one like they have no choice in the matter because that could be counterproductive and result in an increase in the behavior. Explain what your concerns are and let your loved one know that you care about and will support him or her throughout the entire process. Most importantly, do not judge them. Avoid asking them why they do it because it will more than likely only provoke a defensive response.
Why Consider Treatment at Valley Behavioral Health System
Although self-harm serves a specific purpose for the people who act out the behavior, it is really only a short-term fix for a more severe, underlying problem. Without treatment, that underlying problem will not go away and may even continuously get worse. You may have found that injuring yourself causes an instant release of tension which helps take away any emotional pain that you’re feeling. However, that release is very brief and you will come to realize that you need to injure yourself more consistently in order to make it last. Even though your self-harm is not meant to be an attempt at ending your own life, doing so puts you at risk for accidentally falling into that fate. You may also have noticed that you have become more socially isolated as you try to hide your self-harm from those around you. But you don’t have to continue hiding; there is help available for you.
Inpatient treatment programs are extremely successful in helping people to stop self-injuring. Although entering an inpatient program can feel intimidating, the mere fact that individuals are taken out of the stresses of their everyday lives can result in an instant sense of relief. While being treated, people are being cared for in a safe environment where they will not have access to the tools with which they use to harm themselves. When the urge to injure occurs, there are medical professionals available 24/7 who can help process through the emotions and will support you until the urge passes. Throughout treatment, you will also work with your therapist and other mental health professionals to develop a variety of coping mechanisms that you can implement into your everyday life once treatment is complete.
Program Philosophy and Benefits
The most important aspect of our philosophy here at Valley Behavioral Health System is that we always put our patients first. The mission that we stand by is to be an organization that is accountable, valuable, and life-changing. We provide a full continuum of care in a confidential, caring, and empathic environment. All of our treatment promotes crisis solutions, personal growth, and positive self-awareness and is provided under the direct supervision of board certified psychiatrists. Daily interactions with our multidisciplinary staff include meetings with therapists, psychiatric nurses and nurse practitioners, social workers, recreational and educational specialists, and other devoted mental health professionals.
Types of Treatment Offered at Valley Behavioral Health System
When you arrive at Valley Behavioral, you will begin the admissions process by completing a comprehensive assessment with one of our qualified assessment specialists. Upon completion of the assessment, a recommendation for the most appropriate level of care will be made. You will then begin developing an individualized treatment plan with a team of care managers that will help guide you throughout the duration of your treatment, with appropriate alterations being made when necessary. At Valley Behavioral, we use a variety of therapeutic techniques that will be tailored to meet the needs identified in your treatment plan. Examples of these various therapeutic techniques are:
Medication management: One part of successfully managing the symptoms that people suffer from the emotions that lead to self-harming behaviors comes in the form of medication. At all times during the course of treatment, medication is closely monitored and will be altered if needed.
Individual therapy: Individual therapy sessions are held in a confidential setting where you meet on a one-to-one basis with your therapist. These sessions are held once per week, but additional sessions can be added at the discretion of the therapist if you need or request them.
Group therapy: Group therapy sessions are held daily. The purpose of these sessions is for patients to have time to meet together and discuss a variety of topics based on things that they are struggling with. Rehabilitation groups are held twice a day on a daily basis and recreation groups are held at a minimum of three days per week.
Family therapy: At Valley Behavioral, we recognize how crucial the role of family involvement is in order for any type of treatment to be successful. During a patient’s inpatient stay, family therapy sessions will occur at least once per week, but additional sessions can be added if needed or requested. Family visitation time occurs twice each week, but family members are able to call at any time to check on their loved one.
Experiential therapy: We provide a therapeutic recreational program that assesses, educates, and assists patients in striving to improve their physical lifestyle. We believe that in order for our patients to reach true wellness, the entire body must be treated. Some of the activities involved in this program include:
- Arts and crafts
- Various relaxation activities
Continuing Care and Levels of Treatment
At the time of admittance to our program, the discharge process simultaneously begins. By doing so, we are able to ensure that, once the discharge occurs, a plan for continuing care is already in place. Our goal in doing this is to try and provide you with the peace of mind knowing that you are not about to re-enter the world without the support that you had been offered throughout your time at Valley Behavioral. Our care coordinators are also available to work with you in scheduling follow-up appointments with your therapist and psychiatrist based on the recommendations of the treatment team that worked with you during your stay.
We don’t want you or your loved one to have to a life tainted by the pain and suffering of self-injury. We want you to get well, and we want to help. We want you to leave us feeling as though you are able to face the world with confidence, knowing that you are going to be able to live a happy and healthy life.