Razor's Edge


In the UK it is estimated that 400 people per 100,000 self-harm and people with current mental health issues are 20 times more likely to self harm (National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health, 2004). Staff can find deliberate self-harm hard to understand and often and even more difficult to know how to help.

This workshop aims to prepare participants to feel more confident and skilled in working with service users who self-harm. The workshop is delivered through a series of dramatised case scenarios, each addressing a different aspect of self-injurous behaviour. In each case participants are helped to explore their own reactions, understanding and skills and then to compare that with best practice.

This evocative workshop dramatically brings together the fraught tension between the needs of the service user and that of the practitioner in a way that highlights good, safe and appropriate practice.


The workshop can be run over one, two, three or more days. It can also be combine with "Edge of Darkness" to include suicidal behaviour. As a rough guide:

  • The one-day workshop is suitable for staff for who may work with service users who self-harm, but where the self-harm is not their main focus

  • The two-day course is for staff who work with service users where deliberate self-harm is a common concern

  • The longer courses are for staff who need to develop specialist skills in working with service users who self-harm



On this course participants will:

  • Explore the overlap between self-harm and suicide

  • Learn to distinguish different types of self-harm (Major, Superficial, Stereotypic, Episodic, Repetitive, Compulsive)

  • Review the major research findings

  • Identify the three major interlocking psychological processes (Emotional Dysregulation, Dissociation and Numbing) that underpin deliberate self-harm

  • Identify strategies to help service users take control over if, how and when they self-harm


This covers everything on the One Day Course, and in addition course participants will:

  • Discover skills and strategies for working with people who self-harm over the longer term

  • Consider complicating factors such as borderline personality disorder and psychosis

  • Review how these insights and skills can be applied to benefit current service users


The longer courses (3-5 days) cover everything in the one and two day course and then go on to look in more detail at the specialist skills involved in working with specific client groups.