Self Harm Training

Terri Shaw

My own background is in nursing and I am also a qualified lecturer. Whilst practicing as a nurse, I worked in an Emergency Admissions Unit where self-harm was something I regularly encountered. I found myself completely unequipped to deal with the issue; I had no access to training or information and my lack of understanding inevitably impacted upon the quality of care and responses I gave. However, it wasn’t until I learned that my sister was self-harming that I developed a real interest and involvement in the issue. Through my experiences of supporting my sister over the many years that she self-harmed, I became aware of just how misunderstood the issue is  and how this lack of understanding can often lead to some very unhelpful responses by staff and carers. I knew that self-harm was something I wanted and needed to understand and, by returning to the world of education and by listening to and learning from people who self- harm, I soon realised that it was something that could be understood.

I have a particular interest in the harm-minimisation approach  in regards to self-harm and, whilst studying for an MA in Bioethics and Medical Law, I undertook an in-depth research study, which focused primarily on this issue. It’s a pragmatic approach that makes so much sense and is an approach that is gaining momentum within services which is reflected in the increased popularity of our training courses on the issue.

I am an experienced trainer who has provided training to staff in services which include: social services; NHS Trusts; education; housing; drug and alcohol related services; youth services; and criminal justice related services. I have also gained recognition for my involvement in, and awareness of, the issues and challenges for ‘carers’ of someone who self-injures and have both spoken and facilitated workshops on the issue at several national conferences. I am also a full member of the Institute for Learning