Bodily Harm: The Breakthrough Healing Program for Self-Injurers /

Karen Conterio, Author, Wendy Lader, Joint Author, Jennifer Kingson Bloom, With Hyperion Books $24.45 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7868-6464-5
Operating a clinic in the Chicago area since 1985, Conterio and Lader have developed a program for people who cut, burn and otherwise mutilate themselves. This behavior, in their view, is neither a disease nor an addiction, but rather ""a matter of choice... a mechanism to cope with stress, relieve inexpressible feelings, and gain attention."" The authors take this view not to blame the afflicted, but to emphasize that, in their ""S.A.F.E. (Self Abuse Finally Ends) Alternatives"" program, patients can and do ""learn to make a different choice."" This tack differs somewhat from those of some other recent books on the subject--for example, Steven Levenkron's Cutting (Forecasts, April 20)--in rejecting the disease model that establishes self-injury as a disorder akin to obsessive-compulsive disorder or alcoholism. The line Conterio and Lader draw is a fine one, though, as they refer to self-injury as a ""compulsion,"" and as the questions they pose to identify a self-injurer includes such phrases as ""compulsively drawn,"" ""get a `high'"" and ""consume your thoughts."" The authors describe an impressive treatment program, using a ""toolbox"" consisting of psychotherapy, a No-Harm Contract, an Impulse Control Log, Five Alternatives and many writing assignments. In a four-week program with follow-up care, they teach patients self-acceptance and verbal expression as a healthier alternative to self-injury. This is a thorough and helpful guide for patient, loved ones and therapists alike. Author tour. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1998
Release date: 10/01/1998
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-7868-8504-6
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