I had some awesome help with this post from one of my clients who was able to give some great alternatives that helped her when she was cutting herself.
We practiced some of these alternatives and then made a chain as a challenge. The concept for this being to rip of a link of the chain when needed or everyday and practice the alternative.
The unique thing about some of these alternatives is that they are meant to replace cutting or self-harm by being a little more extreme or destructive (safely of course) to make your client feel more satisfied, not needing to hurt themselves. Other skills we listed were coping skills to feel better and can be used for anger, stress, depression, etc.
Here are some examples:
-Write lyrics on your arm, then wash it off.
-Squeeze ice cubes
-Rip up magazines or paper
-Clap your hands until they sting
-Stomp/ jump up and down
-Write yourself a letter
-Paint your nails or do your make-up
-Watch a funny video
-Scribble out the faces in magazines
-Make yourself write three things you like about your life
-Put a rubber band on your wrist and snap it
-Learn to swear in another language
-Scream in your pillow
-Bite into a hot pepper
-Put band-aids, tape, or glue on your skin then peel it off
This is a difficult subject to bring up with your client, but being straight forward, practicing alternatives and helping them find stories and articles about others who have gone through the same thing can be helpful.