The influential Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, once mused that “People have a hard time letting go of their suffering out of a fear of the unknown; they prefer suffering that is familiar.” That fear of the unknown is what terrifies many parents when they discover that their child is engaging in self-harm.
Seeing your child harm themselves can be one of the most devastating experiences a parent can have. This discovery can bring about a plethora of questions, concerns, and uncertainties.
Many times parents blame themselves for their child’s self-harm. This blame-and-shame game does neither the parent nor the child any good. Instead, it just creates more trauma in an already traumatic situation.
The Truth About Self-Harm
What you should understand when it comes to your daughter’s self-harm is that there are usually several root causes. Everyone’s situation is unique.
There are many ways of approaching a child that is acting in self-harm. In any case, we find that the best approach is that of empathy and love.
Finally, there are many things we now know when it comes to self-harm. One thing we know for certain is that it only does more harm to envelop yourself with guilt. Instead, we want you to show yourself as much love as you would your daughter. Do not disregard your own pain and suffering. You deserve some serenity as well.
The Fear You Feel When Discovering Self-Harm
The first thing we would like to impart to you is that you are not alone. A study conducted by the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics found that a significant percentage of “children and adolescents [are] engage[d] in NSSI [nonsuicidal self-injury].” The study also concluded that “Ninth-grade girls seem most at risk, as they engage in NSSI at 3 times the rate of boys.”
Here at Clearview Girls Academy, we treat self-harm very seriously. We take it so seriously that we take on a minimal number of self-harm patients per semester, to ensure they receive the full help and attention they need.
If we at Clearview Girls Academy do not feel that we can adequately aid in your daughter’s recovery, we would be happy to direct you somewhere else that can help. Your daughter’s well-being matters to us above everything else.
Self-Harm: Some Root Causes
We find the previously mentioned study to be both worrisome and informative. Especially concerning is the large gender gap in self-harm leaning toward young girls. After all, we are an all-girls academy. And yet, we are also comforted by the knowledge that adolescents engaging in self-harm can be helped.
There can be many root causes for self-harm. These causes can be biological and genetic. Self-harm can stem from some sort of trauma that was inflicted on a child early on. The behavior may come from comorbidities like anxiety and depression, addiction, or substance use disorder (SUD).
Those are but a sliver of the root causes that may be causing your daughter to engage in self-harm. No matter the cause, we are confident that our staff members can discover these root causes and start your daughter down the path of recovery.
How Can We Treat Self-Harm?
We have several approaches to recovery here at Clearview Girls Academy, and none of them are the same. This is because we believe in an “individualized” approach to our students’ recovery journey.
Our programs include a focus on academics. We want to ensure that your daughter doesn’t fall any more behind in her studies than she may have already.
A Variety of Therapies
Our programs include an array of therapies from the more “traditional” cognitive and behavioral therapies, to the more “eccentric” therapies like art and equine therapy. We use a wide variety of these therapies to address the root causes we mentioned earlier.
A Relational Approach
Our approach is “relational,” which means that we emphasize, first and foremost, connection. We work to define the unmet need underlying behaviors rather than correcting or coercing girls to change. We believe that a trusting, safe, and nurturing relationship must underlie all meaningful and lasting change. Our fully licensed, master’s-level therapists are skilled at creating this healing connection.
Promoting Spiritual Growth
Our programs also include imparting a foundation of spirituality and the teachings of Jesus Christ. We believe that creating a strong sense of faith and spirituality can bring hope to our students. Also, we believe that by strengthening her spiritual practice, your daughter will find joy. This joy can last well beyond her departure from the ranch.
Loving Your Daughter, and Yourself Too
According to the Gospel of John, Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
This statement exemplifies the type of unremitting love we believe in here at Clearview Girls Academy. We know you show unwavering love to your child in their times of need. Similarly, we want you to show the same level of love to yourself. You deserve healing too. Let us help you both through these challenging times.
Seeing your child engage in self-harm is terrifying. We understand the fear you may be feeling. When we see a loved one harming themselves, especially our child, we can feel at a loss about what to do. First, if you witness your daughter physically harming themself in any way, please seek medical attention at the nearest emergency room. If and when your child is out of immediate danger, we invite you to allow us to give her the help she truly needs. We will get to the root causes behind all of this suffering, so your daughter can begin to heal. Please call Clearview Girls Academy at (888) 796-5484 for more information.