Scraping by – Self-Care Writing for Nonsuicidal Self-Injury: An Exploration Through Fiction and Social Media
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This project focuses on the confronting and often misunderstood behavior of self-injury. In various professional communities, multiple terms describe the behaviour – including but not limited to: self-harm, deliberate self-harm (DSH), self-mutilation, self-injury, and nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) – while definitions and classifications also vary. Awareness and understanding of the behaviour are growing: nonsuicidal self-injury was included in the DSM-V as a ‘condition for further study’ (American Psychiatric Association 2013) providing guidelines for a possible diagnosis. The International Society for the Study of Self-Injury defines self-injury as ‘the deliberate, self-inflicted destruction of body tissue without suicidal intent and for purposes not socially sanctioned’ (ISSS 2007/2015). However, ISSS and the DSM-V still note that self-injury can be a predictor of suicide risk (ISSS 2007/2015; American Psychiatric Association 2013). Self-injury is a maladaptive coping method employed to manage overwhelming emotions including sadness, anxiety and numbness (ISSS 2013) and has an average onset of mid-adolescence but can last well into adulthood (ISSS 2013). The behaviour remains stigmatised and as a result many individuals who self-injure may remain silent and not seek support. Therapeutic writing has been examined by researchers in the social sciences, creative arts and humanities. It is said to be a cost effective, readily available and accessible treatment option for a range of emotional, physical and mental health issues. Therapeutic writing is also said to return a sense of agency to the individual as they play a key role in their own treatment. This PhD submission asks: can a therapeutic writing process be devised that can assist those who self-injure in developing a system of self-care and support?
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
School of Humanities, Languages and Social science
Item Access Status
Nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI)