Cutting the Body to Cope: Understanding the Adaptive Functions of Self-Cutting Behaviour
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Although self-cutting among adolescents has become an increasingly commonplace clinical problem, the act of self-injury remains a widely misunderstood phenomenon. The need for clinicians to better understand and help those who engage in self-cutting behaviour is great. Exploring the functional significance of self-injurious behaviour is a key step to forming a deeper understanding of it. This study will investigate the meanings that adolescents who cut themselves attach to the act in order to improve understanding and treatment of self-cutting behaviours. The literature will be reviewed for common themes in the functional importance of self-injurious behaviour and then compared with a single case illustration. Finally, implications for clinical practice are considered.