Hi – I’m Kris!
I work with people who self-harm.
My clients are driven adults and adolescents.
They are high achievers in life…. and they are hiding incredible hurt.
They want relief from the struggle, and they need tools to do that.
Psychotherapy has often been frustrating for them.
Behavioral interventions are not enough.
If it were just a behavior problem then behavioral interventions (replacement strategies, charts, rewards, consequences, talk therapy) would be effective. They do not address the root cause.
It goes much deeper than this.
I know this firsthand.
Self-harm shows up in various forms, from cutting, pinching or squeezing, pulling, hitting, burning, eating concerns, over exercising and more. My clients relate to the desire to feel something on the outside of their body to match the intensity of the shame, guilt, loneliness they feel on the inside.
I am not scared of this conversation.
As a psychotherapist, I have spent over 16 years working with adults, adolescents, and children with hard to treat symptoms associated with self-harm and an overcontrolled personality. In effort to help people learn about self-harm, a significantly misunderstood action, I use the combination of different learning curves including formal treatment training and different educational modalities Click to read my full bio
Here’s the truth that nobody wants to say: Whatever you are doing is a brilliant strategy to move you in direction of what you really want.
I am committed to helping you get what you most desire.
“ I appreciate Kris’s view of self harm, instead of it being seen as attention seeking (which my previous counselor and mom did) she understood that it was something I didn’t want to do but needed to do it. Self harm gets a bad wrap and is misunderstood. I feel so much more relief now because Kris was able to give me guidance to not feel alone as well as to understand a part of my personality that made so much sense and helped me learn there is not something wrong with me. I am sick of watching TikToks that discuss Borderline Personality Disorder because it is misleading and only increases the feelings of shame for self harm.”
Adults have found that traditional psychotherapies have not worked and that their hard-to-treat symptoms often identified as depression and anxiety is still present. Quiet suffering is happening, and it is not apparent to others. They often consider themselves “hardheaded or stubborn” and seek to just work through the urges and tolerate the pain for a significant amount of time. After all, this ability to tolerate emotions and stay focused on goals and tasks at hand is what has proven to make them successful. Some adults will struggle with what to call the desire to self-harm or fear to even talk about it when it happens, and then if the act is not actually happening then why talk about it at all.
Parents struggling with self-blame for not knowing sooner or catching it. They often feel overwhelmed and have a mixture of reactions when trying to make sense of it and want to control or fix it for their kids. Sometimes, parents will identify the similar desire in themselves at some point in their life. Most often parents have the fear of the harm going too far and want to have answers to “what do we do” to manage this and a desire to understand it. Parents describe a level of frustration with their kid when their kid cannot explain why this is happening but then also parents fear pushing too much, just not knowing how to balance the conversation. Most typically, parents want questions answered quickly with a sense of direction as this is a need for immediate attention.
Adolescents will plan out self-harm rituals, they have figured out ways to self-harm without it being visible to others, they go to great detail to hide it, and often will describe not even knowing what normal is yet will show up in the world as ok and having it all together. Adolescents might describe feeling sensitive or lonely on the inside but tough on the outside, and can have extreme control over their emotions yet confusing have this behavior behind closed doors. Often, they will answer questions about the self-harm with “no, yes, I am ok, It is not a big deal, do I really have to show you, its just small” keeping the issue suddle yet they feel the complexity of it.
Professionals (such as Chiropractors, Physical Therapists, Personal Trainers, Nurses): I work with professionals who are finding themselves being alongside their clients and will describe either seeing the self-harm or getting relationally close to the client that the client tells them about it. They describe not knowing what to do with this because their clients are high achieving and not coming to them for their self-harm but for other goals. I briefly train professionals on the topic of self-harm, teach strategies to approach the topic respectfully to their clients, and give professionals a resource to give to their clients to seek additional help.