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Deliberate self-harm
George Kelly (1961) distinguished between different types of suicidal act, and this taxonomy can be elaborated to encompass varieties of non-fatal self-harm. While, as with suicide, some of these may occur in the context of either a chaotic or a fatalistic view of the world, others may, for example, be associated with the impulsivity consequent upon a foreshortening of the Circumspection-Preemption-Control Cycle. A personal construct formulation of an individual’s self-harm allows therapeutic interventions to be focused upon the aspects of construing concerned, and there is research evidence that such an approach is more effective than normal clinical practice with clients who self-harm (Winter et al., 2000).

  • Kelly, G.A. (1961). Theory and therapy in suicide: the personal construct point of view. In M. Farberow and E. Shneidman (eds.), The Cry for Help. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Winter, D., Bhandari, S., Metcalfe, C., Riley, T., Sireling, L., Watson, S., and Lutwyche, G. (2000). Deliberate and undeliberated self-harm: Theoretical basis and evaluation of a personal construct spychotherapy intervention. In J.W. Scheer (ed.), The Person in Society: Challenges to a Constructivist Theory. Giessen: Psychosozial-Verlag.

David A. Winter

Establ. 2003
Last update: 15 February 2004