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Stopping the Pain:  Teenage Self-Injury cover image

Stopping the Pain: Teenage Self-Injury 2010


Distributed by Human Relations Media, 41 Kensico Drive, Mt. Kisco, NY 10549; 800-431-2050
Produced by Peter Cochran
Directed by Peter Cochran
DVD, color, 21 min.

Jr. High - Adult
Adolescence, Psychology

Date Entered: 11/03/2010

Reviewed by Wendy Highby, University of Northern Colorado

Stopping the Pain: Teenage Self-Injury profiles four teenagers (Latria, Chrissy, Stephanie, and Ben) who have ended their self-injurious behavior. The DVD also includes interview footage with two professionals, Michelle Seliner (clinical social worker) and Dr. Wendy Lader (clinical psychologist). They are affiliated with S.A.F.E. Alternatives® (Self Abuse Finally Ends), a nationally-recognized treatment approach, professional network, and educational clearinghouse dedicated to ending self-injurious behavior.

The first half of the film describes self-injurious behavior from both the teens’ and the experts’ points of view. After briefly defining deliberate self-harm, the film goes on to explore the various reasons for the behavior. Self-injury functions as a coping strategy for dealing with emotional pain. The behavior reveals an underlying need for perfection, punishment, and control. The second half of the film focuses on intervention, treatment, and recovery. It emphasizes the importance of getting help and learning healthy communication skills and positive ways of coping.

The teen interviewees frankly describe the feelings that led to the self-injurious behavior. They discuss the intervention and therapy that aided their recovery. The film is nicely edited to balance and blend the teens’ and experts’ viewpoints. It is jargon-free and very accessible to the layperson. A loose-leaf teacher’s resource book is included to supplement the film. It contains student activities and fact sheets. The film could be useful in both counseling and classroom venues. It is appropriate for audiences of a wide range of ages though it is chiefly aimed at teens. It provides a clear and compassionate introduction to the subject of self-injury.