For healthcare professionals only


Language of self harm is somatic and needs to be learnt

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 30 March 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:788
  1. Andrew Clark, consultant psychotherapist
  1. Blackberry Hill Hospital, Bristol BS16 2EW

    EDITOR—In a recent personal view a doctor is exasperated at having to deal with the “bloody overdoses” as a house officer and then becomes one 25 years later.1 A patient who had had depression for 20 years and then harmed herself responded with a poem to staff in accident and emergency departments who think that victims of self harm are a waste of time and resources.2 I was moved by this poem. Self harm is a somatic language. It is a language which uses the body instead of words and feelings. This poem will speak to both victims of self harm and professionals who care for them precisely because it translates the language of self harm.

    Staff who care for victims of …

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