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Suicide

Ask Dr. Dombeck
Ask Dr. Dombeck
Psychotherapy and Mental Health Questions

Does a therapist have to report me as suicidal if I tell her I self injure?

I'm a 27-year-old woman who has struggled with self-injury (cutting, burning) since early childhood, when I experienced physical, mental and sexual abuse. I desperately want to seek help for myself, but I have some concerns. If I speak to a therapist about my self-harming, will s/he be obligated to report my self-injury in the same way as s/he would be obligated to report issues related to suicide? I have attempted suicide in the past (5-6 years ago) and while I'm depressed and struggle with anxiety, I have no plans to attempt suicide. I'm just concerned that all of these factors together will result in any therapist I work with wanting to hospitalize me. If that's the help I need then I'm guardedly open to it, but obviously I'd rather not go that route if it's not necessary. What are a therapist's obligation regarding reporting a clients' problems with self-injury? I know you can't answer every question.. but please, I'm pretty much begging you to answer this one. I'm afraid and I don't know what to do. Thank you.

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