113: Beyond the Myths: Understanding Self-Harm with Vena Wilson

“It is across racial lines, socioeconomic status, religious beliefs, and the like. This is not a phenomenon that just occurs to a certain person that looks and dresses and behaves a certain way.” When everything builds up inside, managing emotions can oftentimes feel impossible. As children grow, oftentimes there’s no one to teach them how to manage their emotions. For those with the trait of high sensitivity and/or those who experienced trauma, sometimes the way that they learn to cope, manage, or maintain their overwhelming emotions is through self-harm. Self-harm is a subject that is riddled with misconceptions and negative judgments.  In this episode, I talk with Vena Wilson about why people self-harm, and together we dispel some of those myths. Vena deepens our understanding as to why women engage in this type of coping mechanism. She also shares her insights into what causes the emotional state that pushes individuals into self-harming tendencies, and what to do when someone you love struggles with this topic. Take a listen to learn how to identify self-harm, support a loved one, or spark the healing process for yourself. About Vena Wilson: Vena Wilson is a licensed clinical social worker who provides psychotherapy services to children, teenagers, and adults. She is the owner and operator of Honey Bee Behavioral Health. She works to assist individuals and families in creating healthy, adaptive, and well-functioning relationships. With this, Vena also helps clients see their concerns through a different lens: she provides information on how trauma effects the functioning of various parts of the brain. She teaches strategies that allow them to take suicide and self-harm off the table as an option to release overwhelming emotions. Some Questions I Ask:
  • How did you come to work with women who self-harm? (3:48)
  • What happens that causes this emotional state? (17:40)
  • What other myths or misconceptions are there around self-harm? (25:10)
  • What are ways to support a loved one who self-harms? (28:52)
  • What words of wisdom would you share with someone who self-harms? (33:04)
In This Episode, You Will Learn:
  • What self-harm looks like. (7:06)
  • How emotional deregulation affects the brain and presents itself in day-to-day life. (12:26)
  • About the trait of high-sensitivity and how it manifests itself. (21:08)
  • What to do and not to do when a loved one discloses that they self-harm. (29:11)
  • How to choose a therapist that will fit your specific needs. (34:21)
Podcasts that Discuss Dialectal Behavior Therapy Strategies, Managing Overwhelming Emotions, and Other Helpful Tidbits: Charlie Swenson: To Hell and Back Vena M. Wilson: The Honey Be Podcast Practical/Helpful Reads on Validation, Mindfulness, Managing Overwhelming Emotions: I Hear You: The Surprisingly Simple Skill Behind Extraordinary Relationships by Michael S. Sorensen Calming the Emotional Storm: Using Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills to Manage Your Emotions and Balance Your Life by Sheri Van Dijk Freedom from Selfharm: Overcoming Self-Injury with Skills from DBT and Other Treatments by Kim Gratz Books for Clinicians: DBT® Skills Training Manual, Second Edition by Marsha M. Linehan Doing Dialectical Behavior Therapy: A Practical Guide (Guides to Individualized Evidence-Based Treatment) by Kelly Koerner Nonsuicidal Self-Injury (Advances in Psychotherapy: Evidence-Based Practice) (Advances in Psychotherapy – Evidence-Based Practice) by E. David Klonsky Treating Self-Destructive Behaviors in Trauma Survivors: A Clinician’s Guide by Lisa Ferentz Treating Self-Injury: A Practical Guide by Barent W. Walsh For Parents and Caregivers: Parenting a Teen Who Has Intense Emotions: DBT Skills to Help Your Teen Navigate Emotional and Behavioral Challenges by Pat Harvey The Power of Validation: Arming Your Child Against Bullying, Peer Pressure, Addiction, Self-Harm, and Out-of-Control Emotions by Karyn D. Hall When Your Daughter Has BPD: Essential Skills to Help Families Manage Borderline Personality Disorder by Daniel S. Lobel Other Resources: Website: MyHoneyBeeTherapy.Com