Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To see statistics of the Most Popular Journal Articles on PEP-Web…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Statistics of the Most Popular Journal Articles on PEP-Web can be reviewed at any time. Just click the “See full statistics” link located at the end of the Most Popular Journal Articles list in the PEP Section.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Daldin, H.J. (1988). A Contribution to the Understanding of Self-Mutilating Behaviour in Adolescence. J. Child Psychother., 14(1):61-66.

(1988). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 14(1):61-66

A Contribution to the Understanding of Self-Mutilating Behaviour in Adolescence

Herman J. Daldin

Often, adolescents who cut their wrists or other body parts are admitted to hospital, and the treatment focuses on the “suicide gesture” and the conceptual model used is a suicide one. What I have found is that the act of mutilation of the body such as wrist-cutting, becomes de-emphasized or ignored. As with suicidal patients, the method and meaning are often not specifically directed towards ending life. The primary focus of this paper will be on the mutilating behaviour of an adolescent girl, and its meaning in a developmental context. I will not discuss her entire treatment; instead I will confine myself to the period of treatment and aspects of material that most clearly illustrate this girl's pathology as reflected in her wrist-cutting behaviour.

With mutilating patients, their self-injurious behaviour has a sexual component, primarily masturbatory, which is expressed by means of the act. Maltzberger and Buie (1980) state, “The craving for punishment is associated with sexual activity, is frequently associated with the guilt for oedipal wishes. Psychoanalytic study of a high proportion of patients reveals minor masochistic trends in adolescent masturbatory fantasies, wherein intercourse is permitted only if some punishment is inflicted” (p. 62). It is my contention that cutting on the skin represents a self-stimulating masturbatory activity, involving both expression of masturbatory sexual gratification as well as punishment for the impulse to stimulate the self.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.