Sometimes, physical pain seems to make emotional pain easier.

Because AMFM knows there are real, valid reasons someone might turn to physical self-harm, we can effectively (and compassionately) help you find healthier coping methods.

“I just don’t get it.” 

“I could never.”

“They’re just looking for attention.”

Anyone who has had their self-harm behaviors discovered has heard it- disbelief, confusion, and even disgust.

To the “average” person, cutting, burning, or bruising themselves makes no sense. Why would you want to cause yourself injury and pain?

What the “average” person doesn’t know is that there are biological reasons why physical pain can feel like relief to someone experiencing deep emotional pain.

They might not know about the sense of control self-harm gives a person whose life feels out of their control.

And they definitely don’t understand the cycle of emotional buildup and release that comes with self-harm.

Unfortunately, while self-harm can make you feel better in the short-term, it’s ultimately a story of secrecy and shame. The brief escape self-harm provides is soon overshadowed by guilt and the fear of getting caught. It’s lonely, and isolates you from the people who can help.

At AMFM, we see beyond the physical injuries. We understand the complex emotions and situations that lead someone to self-harm. More importantly, we know that with the right support, individuals can develop healthier coping mechanisms to deal with their emotional pain.

Self-Harm Signs

When someone harms themself, they do so in ways that are often hidden or dismissed. Here’s what you might notice, either in yourself or someone you care about:

Cutting, Burning, Hitting:

These are the most recognizable forms of self-harm, where someone intentionally inflicts physical pain upon themselves to cope with emotional distress.

Scratching, Hair-pulling, Picking at Wounds:

Less obvious but equally concerning behaviors include scratching to the point of bleeding, pulling out hair, or compulsively picking at skin or wounds, preventing them from healing.

Wearing Long Sleeves or Pants in Warm Weather

This could be an attempt to cover scars or fresh injuries from self-harm.​

Unexplained Injuries:

Regularly having bruises, burns, or cuts that they dismiss or explain away with vague or inconsistent stories.


People struggling with self-harm behaviors might withdraw from friends and family.

Fluctuations in Mood:

Extreme mood swings or emotional states, especially if they seem out of character, can be a sign of the kind of underlying distress that contributes to self-harm.

The cycle of self-harm often starts with a buildup of emotional tension. When the person self-harms, they might get some relief, a momentary sense of control or calm. It’s hard to break up a pattern like this without intervention because it’s quickly followed by feelings of guilt or shame, which reinforces the cycle.

At AMFM, we’re equipped to help you or your loved one break this cycle. Through compassionate care and a holistic approach, we aim to offer the skills and support needed to find healthier ways to cope with life’s challenges.

Possible Causes

Self-harm often comes from deep emotional pain, but the exact causes can vary. Addressing self-harm requires first understanding and treating these root causes. Here’s are some of the factor’s we investigate:

Mental Health Disorders: Conditions like depression, anxiety, PTSD, and personality disorders are closely linked to self-harm. These disorders can create intense emotional pain that some try to cope with through self-harm.
Trauma and Stress: Trauma, whether recent or from the past, can lead to feelings of helplessness and a lack of control. Some people attempt to regain that control through self-harm behaviors. High levels of stress can also be a factor.
Feelings of Isolation or Inadequacy: Self-harm can be an expression of internal pain or a way to self-punish if someone is feeling disconnected from others or like they don't measure up.
Coping Mechanism: For some, self-harm is a learned behavior they use as a coping mechanism to deal with emotional distress. Self-harm can be a temporary escape from or a way to physically express feelings that seem unbearable.


AMFM is here to help you or your loved one take the next steps towards an improved mental well-being.

Possible Therapeutic Interventions

At AMFM, we’re committed to providing an effective pathway out of the cycle of self-harm. But that pathway will look different for every person. That’s why we have a wide range of tools available, and we keep our approach flexible and creative. Here are a few options we might turn to:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): We sometimes use CBT to tackle the underlying negative thought patterns that lead to self-harm. By identifying these patterns, we can work towards changing them, offering new ways to cope with distressing emotions without causing physical harm.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): DBT is especially effective for those who self-harm. It teaches skills in emotional regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness, so that you can find healthier ways to manage emotions and improve relationships.

Mindfulness Practices: Incorporating mindfulness into therapy can help you become more aware of thoughts and feelings without immediately acting on them. This awareness creates a space between the urge to self-harm and the action, so that you can choose healthier coping mechanisms.

Support Systems: Building a robust support system is crucial. We encourage family involvement, peer support groups, and community resources as part of the healing process. Knowing you’re not alone can make a big difference.

Holistic Care: We look at the whole person, not just the self-harm behavior. This means considering all aspects of well-being, including physical health, emotional needs, social connections, and spiritual growth.

Education and Skills Training: Educating you about the nature of self-harm and teaching practical skills for dealing with emotional distress can empower you to take control of your life again.

Our treatment plans are comprehensive, tailored to each individual, and designed to help you overcome self-harm and build a healthier, more fulfilling life.

AMFM's Holistic Approach

Using self-harm to cope with emotional pain is like taking Tylenol when what you really need is surgery. At AMFM, we’re equipped to guide you through the deep work it takes to stop putting a band-aid on the issue. We believe you’ll come out the other side a healthier, more fulfilled version of yourself.

Here’s how we are different from conventional treatments:

We’ll help you move beyond self-harm and embrace a life filled with connection, healing, and fulfillment. If you or someone you know is struggling with self-harm, we're here. Reach out to us today to learn more about our personalized treatment plans and how we can help you find healthier coping mechanisms.