The Psychology of Self-Injury: Exploring Self-Harm & Mental Health

Self-Injury Stigma and Language, with Dr. Penelope Hasking

Episode Summary

Penelope Hasking, PhD, from Curtin University in Australia and current President of the International Society for the Study of Self-Injury (ISSS) discusses how the words we use to describe self-injury and those who engage in the behavior may either foster empathy and help-seeking or further stigmatize those who self-injure and self-harm.

Episode Notes

What are common ways we talk about self-injury or self-harm that may inadvertently perpetuate stigma about the behavior and those who engage in it? In this episode, Dr. Hasking offers a unique way of thinking about words like "contagious" and "recovery." She also provides insights into the pros and cons of including a Nonsuicidal Self-Injury Disorder as a potential formal diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Learn more about self-injury and Dr. Hasking's work at Shedding Light on Self-Injury ( Below are links to some of her research referenced in this episode:

Cutting words: A commentary on language and stigma in the context of nonsuicidal self-injury

Self-injury recovery: A person-centered framework

Stigma and nonsuicidal self-injury: Application of a conceptual framework

Follow Dr. Westers on Instagram and Twitter (@DocWesters). To join ISSS, visit and follow ISSS on Facebook and Twitter (@ITripleS).