David Calof, Certified Counselor

Dealing With Self-Injury

For adolescents and others seeking means of immediate relief and control over rampant emotion and overwhelming psychosocial stress, self-injurious behavior (SIB) may provide an effective means of containing highly charged emotional and physical states, breaking into cognitive loops, escalating anxiety and dread, and terminating depersonalization.

Suicidal ideation and frank suicidal behavior may coexist with SIB, but clinicians must be careful to distinguish the self-regulatory intent of SIB from the self-destructive intent of frank suicidality. SIB is more an attempt to adapt to and manage a difficult existence, than to end one.

Client expressions of severe or chronic self harm can trigger strong countertransference even in seasoned clinicians. Unchecked countertransference, coupled with common misconceptions and lack of information about chronic self-injury, can misinform clinical judgment and lead to impasse, exacerbation or contagion of SIB.

With ample clinical examples, this presentation will explore the origins, motivations, logical properties, and clinical management of chronic self-injury in survivors of childhood abuse and neglect.

David Calof D.A.P.A., has practiced psychotherapy, family therapy, pastoral counseling, and hypnotherapy in his native Seattle for 39 years. He is certified counselor in the state of Washington (CL60172653).

A highly regarded clinician, consultant and lecturer internationally on the treatment of trauma and abuse, hypnotherapy, and marriage and family therapy, David has lectured and consulted at educational institutions, professional associations, hospitals, mental health centers, and social service agencies across the United States, and in Canada, England, France, Germany, Australia, and Japan.

He is a Certified Diplomate of the American Psychotherapy Association {D.A.P.A.], a Certified Diplomate and Fellow in Clinical Hypnotherapy of the National Board for Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists, and a Fellow and Founding Member of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation.

A personal student of the late legendary hypnotherapist psychiatrist, Milton Erickson, M.D., Mr. Calof was one of the invited faculty at both the 1st and 2nd International Congresses on Ericksonian Approaches to Hypnosis and Psychotherapy (Phoenix, 1980, 1983). In 1993, Self magazine named Mr. Calof one of the top 10 hypnotherapists in America.

Mr. Calof has authored two books and over 50 professional publications on hypnotherapy, marriage and family therapy, and the treatment of psychological trauma and child abuse. His last book, The Couple Who Became Each Other and Other Tales of Healing From a Leading Hypnotherapist (with Robin Simons, BantamDoubledayDell, 1996) (a featured alternate selection for the Behavioral Science Book Service), has appeared in North American, United Kingdom, French, German, and Israeli editions and garnered highly favorable reviews internationally. The volume was recently re-released in France (2008).

Also trained as a mediator, David has worked with individuals, families, and organizations seeking alternative dispute resolution approaches.

When he is not working, writing, or lecturing, David is an avid mountain climber, hiker, and wood worker in his native Pacific Northwest.