• Flesh Wounds? New ways of understanding self-injury

Flesh Wounds? New ways of understanding self-injury

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ISBN 978 1 906254 29 2 (2010)
Cover Price: £18.00
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Flesh Wounds? is a book of research-based stories about self-injury (sometimes called self-harm). It explores the meaning and purpose of self-injury in an individual’s life; the experiences that might lead to self-injury; and which approaches and responses to self-injury are helpful and which are not. It is intended to be a resource for people who hurt themselves and for those who live and work with them.

The stories challenge the stigmatising view of self-injury as something ‘mad’ or ‘bad’ to be prevented at all costs. They highlight the importance of understanding the complexity of each individual and their relationship with self-injury alongside practices which offer acceptance and support across the breadth and depth of someone’s needs.

Trust Me: 1 (First Time)
Flashback One
In Between
Flashback Two
Trust Me: 2 (Second Chance)
Flashback Three
Trust Me: 3 (Third Time Lucky)
Cathy and Heathcliffe 1999
A Thousand Epilogues
The House of Smiles
Appendix One: Harm-Reduction
Appendix Two: Methodology
Appendix Three: Resources

What Kay Inckle captures here is the experience and meaning of self-injury from various angles, but especially that of individuals who have self-injured. It takes apart the prevailing attitude of practitioners who assume self-injury to be a sympton of personality disorder, underlying suicidal ideation or attention-seeking behaviour, challenging all attempts to prejudge or simplify the reasons why people harm themselves … if you really want to understand what self injury is all about, the issues involved, what helps and what doesn't, you couldn't do better than to read this book … one of the appendices, and excellent explication of the harm reduction approach, is worth the cover price alone. Shaun Johnson, Mental Health Today, August 2011

Flesh Wounds? is by no means a light read, and can be overwhelming, but why wouldn't it be?  … There is no need to protect anybody from the hurt and devastation behind self-injury, particularly if the aim, as the title suggests, is to facilitate and promote a true understanding of the distress driving the injuries. That aim was certainly achieved by this book, by moving past the behaviours of self-injury and exposing the hurt and pain experienced and how self-injury is a response to this pain, and not something to be confused with suicide, or attempts to  die, and is in fact an attempt at survival by many … Dr Inckle's book should be compulsory reading for anybody who could come into contact with self-injury. Chiara Seery, The Book Depository website.-five 

Seventy-five years ago Menninger published the results of a subjective inquiry into the experiences of people who self-injure. This found that self-injury represented 'an attempt at self healing or at least self preservation' … Since the publication of Menninger's work, there have been surprisingly few genuine attempts to develop an understanding of self-injury from the perspectives of people who experience it… Inckle is to be commended for bringing the lived reality of self-injury out of the dark and back into the twenty-first century. People struggling with profoundly difficult life circumstances continue to find themselves alone, too often unable to access appropriate support, or marginalized by the very agencies that are in place to provide emotional relief. Angela Simpson, University of York, from  Nursing Ethics, April 2011

Kay Inckle

Dr Kay Inckle is a course convener in the sociology of health and medicine at the London School of Economics and Political Science. For a number of years she worked as a service-provider in a range of health and social care contexts supporting both adults and young people, and these experiences inspired her PhD and post-doctoral research. From 2009-2012 she ran a self-injury training service which specialized in delivering programmes based on a holistic and harm-reduction approach to self-injury. She remains passionate about transforming attitudes and practice around self-injury and she has a number of publications in the field including her previous book with PCCS books Flesh Wounds? New Ways of Understanding Self-Injury.

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Kay Inckle