Hidden Self-Harm: Narratives from Psychotherapy by Maggie Turp

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By Maggie Turp

This functional and obtainable publication of case stories takes a brand new examine self-harm, concentrating on the under-explored quarter of hidden self-harming behaviour.

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These ideas are extended further in post-Kleinian thinking. Bick (1968) describes how the skin is not at first experienced as having a sufficient binding force to hold the infant together. The infant relies on maternal care, including being wrapped in clothes and being held and fed at the breast, for a sense of proper enclosure and embodiment. Drawing on her own infant observations, Bick suggests that repeated failures of maternal care force an infant into excessive reliance on inanimate objects for a sense of being held together.

She told me that, underneath her clothes, she was a mass of sores and small bleeding wounds. She also had a never-ending succession of colds and sore throats and, although she invariably attended for her session, she was never really well. 318) Defining self-harm As will by now be clear, defining self-harm is not an exact science. There are choices to be made about where and on what basis various lines might best be drawn. A tentative definition is set out below. I have made an effort to take into account the significance of emotional responses evoked by self-harm and the understanding that such responses are shaped both by individual subjective factors and by the cultural context in which the behaviour in question is embedded.

She’s been asleep too long. ’ We go upstairs and I see that Esther is fast asleep on her back in her cot with a cover over her. Helen gently removes the cover and begins to stroke Esther’s forehead. ’ After a minute or two, Esther stretches, extending her left leg and pointing the toe. She opens her eyes, sees Helen and smiles. She turns her head and spots me and gives me a long, serious gaze. Then she looks back at Helen and smiles again and begins to coo gently. Helen speaks in a slightly more animated way.

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