Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is a growing concern worldwide. Although the actual term may vary (e.g., self harm, self-injurious behavior, parasuicidal behavior), NSSI is generally defined as intentional self-inflicted injury to the body to cause pain, bleeding or bruising but without the presence of suicidal intention. Behavioral examples include, but are not limited to, cutting, burning (with fire or eraser), skin carving, scratching, biting, hitting self or objects, embedding objects under the skin or head banging. Over the past decade the rate of NSSI has skyrocketed. Given the high correlation with actual suicide, being able to identify and treat NSSI is critical for mental health providers and allied health care professionals. This online CE course examines the historical context of this behavior, reviews the current diagnostic classification of NSSI, and discusses the theoretical formulations of self-injury. Psychosocial risk factors associated with self-injury including sexual orientation and environmental contributors like bullying and Internet usage are explored. Guidelines and considerations for assessment are presented, as well as treatment options and resources for clinicians to enhance effective and efficient care.
This online course is approved for APA CE credit, NBCC CE clock hours, ASWB Clinical CE clock hours (ALL levels), and NYSED CE credit.
After completing this course, health professionals will be able to:
- Define non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) using DSM-5 diagnostic criteria, including its prevalence, relevance, and relationship with suicide.
- Identify 3 central underlying mechanisms and at least 7 psychosocial correlates of/risk factors for NSSI from a theory- and evidence-based perspective.
- Name 4 primary elements in assessing NSSI and utilize these guiding principles toward diagnostic clarification and treatment planning, including the identification of several evidence-based measures frequently used in this context.
- Discuss 5 approaches to treating NSSI, as well as emerging strategies and psychopharmacologic approaches.