Emotional Regulation and Self-Harm Recovery

October 28, 2021 Kim Berkley

Emotions themselves are neither productive nor destructive; in the context of self-injury, they can be both harmful and healthy. Intensity can be a critical determining factor here, which is what makes self-harm emotional regulation so important for healing.

What Is Emotional Regulation for Self-Harmers?

Emotional regulation refers to how we manage and respond to our feelings. In the context of self-harm, emotional regulation can help us process and reexamine difficult feelings and redirect emotional energy so that it no longer feeds the vicious cycle of self-harm. Or, to put it another way: healthy self-harm emotional regulation techniques help us cope with emotions and cravings in helpful, rather than harmful, ways.

Note that emotional regulation does not mean suppressing or repressing emotions. Simply pushing away negative emotions doesn't actually make them go away, and doing so can be incredibly detrimental to the self-harm recovery process. Instead, emotional regulation is all about finding healthy, productive ways to accept our feelings and work through them.

Emotional Regulation Strategies for Self-Harm Recovery

There are a wide array of self-harm emotional regulation options that may bolster your recovery, but not every method is right for every person. As such, it is ideal to work with a therapist to systematically discover which options will work best for you. However, if you're unable to connect with a mental health professional at this time or just want some fresh options to try, here are a few ideas to help get you started.

Have you found any of these self-harm emotional regulation strategies helpful? Do you have others that have worked for you in the past that you'd like to share? Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments―you never know who you might be able to help.

APA Reference
Kim Berkley (2021, October 28). Emotional Regulation and Self-Harm Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Author: Kim Berkley

Find Kim on Instagram, Facebook and her blog.

Lizanne Corbit
November, 2 2021 at 6:32 pm

These strategies are helpful! Easy to implement, and empowering to have tools like these that we can rely on. I enjoyed the video portion as well. Thanks for sharing!

November, 17 2021 at 8:52 am

Hi Lizanne,
Thank you so much for your comment. I'm glad you found it helpful! It's good to know my work here is proving useful to others. (Otherwise, what would be the point? :) ) I appreciate you taking the time to say so. Take care!

September, 14 2022 at 9:54 am

Hi there. I just discovered this blog… and am at point where I am beyond ready to implement some actionable items to find relief with self harm during panic attacks.
Are there any seminars? Or online meet up’s with the authors?

September, 20 2022 at 4:44 pm

Hi Natalie,
Thanks for your comment. It's good to hear that you're feeling ready to take some steps toward recovery!
I personally don't offer any seminars or online meetups (and I'm the only active author on this particular blog, currently). However, we do have some pretty comprehensive online resources, if you'd like to check those out:…
You may also be able to find some seminars or online meetups not related to the blog by searching on Google—a good place to start might be to find some reputable, recently published nonfiction books on the topic (ideally written by mental health professionals) and then look up the authors to see if they offer any kind of services like the ones you're looking for.
I hope that helps! If you have any further questions, comments, etc., feel free to reply here or comment elsewhere on the blog. I'll be around. :)

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