The wide-ranging contexts in which counselling and psychotherapy is now practiced means clients present with a range of risks that therapists have to respond to. Risk is an ever-present issue for counsellors and psychotherapists and, in an increasingly litigious culture, the need for trainees to develop a sound understanding of how the right tools and the right knowledge can support their practice has never been greater. In this book Andrew Reeves takes trainees, newly qualified practitioners, and more experienced practitioners step-by-step through what is meant by risk, offering practical hints and tips and links to policy and research to inform good ethical practice along the way.

This book tackles: The definition of risk and how risk is linked to social, psychological and relational factors; Working with those who are at risk of suicide, self-injury, self-harm and/or are an endangerment to others; How therapists should respond to the risk in situations involving child protection, mental health crises, and in the therapeutic process itself; The positive side of risk-taking; How counsellors and psychotherapists can work with risk proactively and positively, informed by research.

Filled with case studies, ethical dilemmas, reflective questions, discussion questions and further reading, this book offers counsellors and psychotherapists guidance on how they can work with risk proactively and positively. It is an essential resource for all services, organisations and individual practitioners.

Working with Self-Injury and Self-Harm

Working with self-injury and self-harm

Chapter Outline

A working definition will be offered and a differentiation made between ‘self-injury’ and ‘self-harm’. It is important to view these separately (as well as seeing the links between the two), as this allows practitioners to be more inclusive in their thinking of harm. Types of harm will be outlined, as will their purpose and intention. Self-injury and self-harm will be described as coping strategies (although this will be developed in the chapter), but the relationship between harm and suicide potential will be explored. How practitioners might work with clients collaboratively in this process will be highlighted.


The generic term ‘self-harm’ is an interesting one because it is often used interchangeably to describe several different types of ...

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