Self-soothe Box Self-harm Worksheet

Help your patient think of ways to manage their urge to self-harm with the Self-soothe Box Self-harm Worksheet!

By Matt Olivares on Jul 15, 2024.


Fact Checked by Nate Lacson.

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What is self-harm?

TRIGGER WARNING: Before discussing the Self-soothe Box Self-harm Worksheet, we will briefly discuss self-harm. If you are easily triggered to think about or enact self-harm, please refrain from reading any further, or if you want to read on and learn about this worksheet, please make sure that you have someone with you who can help manage your thoughts about self-harm.

Self-harm is the dangerous act of hurting or injuring yourself. It is an unhealthy way of coping with intrusive thoughts, complicated feelings and emotions, and problematic situations (especially ones that are unwanted or sudden).

Those who enact their thoughts and urges of self-harm don’t necessarily do it because they hate themselves or want to end it all (though there are people who do for those reasons). Some people do it because it gives them a sense of control over themselves. Some do it because self-harm can help prevent certain emotions from overwhelming them. Some do it to prevent themselves from dissociating or to ward off painful memories and intrusive thoughts.

While self-harm can provide a temporary sense of release from difficult feelings, emotions, and experiences, developing a dependence on it will lead to adverse consequences and can make a person feel worse than they already did.

Self-soothe Box Self-harm Worksheet Template

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Self-soothe Box Self-harm Worksheet Example

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How to use the Self-soothe Box Self-harm Worksheet

The Self-soothe Box Self-harm Worksheet is a helpful worksheet from the A Self-Harm self-help workbook for young people in secondary school workbook created by the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board Resilience Project. While it is meant for youngsters in secondary school, the worksheet can also be used by adults.

Using the worksheet is easy because it will only ask you to do one thing. It presupposes that you, the person engaging with the worksheet, are aware of things that you can use or do to help avoid enacting thoughts and feelings of self-harm. If you have such objects or activities, you need to list them inside the image of a suitcase or box. If you’re having trouble thinking about such objects or activities, it’s best to brainstorm with a loved one, friend, therapist, or counselor. If you’re a mental professional, it’s best that you talk to your patient/client about it so you can suggest things that could work for them.

Once they have all their ideas listed inside the box, they need to bring out a physical box and put tangible versions of what they’ve listed inside. These can be a checklist of things to do, stuffed toys, stress balls, music, etc.

When is it best to use the Self-soothe Box Self-harm Worksheet?

The best time to use the Self-soothe Box Self-harm Worksheet will depend on who you are and what you’re using it for.

If you’re a mental healthcare professional, the best time to use this self-harm worksheet would be during your therapy or counseling program. Since this worksheet asks for ideas on what to put in a self-soothe box, it’s best that you’ve already created a safe, non-judgmental space for your client, and you must have established trust and rapport with them. If not, then you need to do all that so they can open up to you about their thoughts and urges of self-harm. Once you’ve established trust and rapport, it’ll be a little easier to help your patient, especially when brainstorming what should go into the boxes.

If you’re a non-professional with thoughts and urges of self-harm, you can use this worksheet anytime. If you’ve yet to write a list, you can seek help or ask for suggestions from your therapist/counselor, loved ones, or friends! After writing down your lists, it’s all about preparing actual boxes for your life!

What are the benefits of using the Self-soothe Box Self-harm Worksheet?

It can help professionals learn what healthy self-soothing methods the patient has.

Self-harm is an unhealthy way of coping with certain things. This worksheet can elucidate a patient's healthy self-soothing/coping methods or tools. By learning what is available to their patient, a professional can gear their sessions to condition their patient to rely on these self-soothing methods and make them their go-to methods instead of defaulting to self-harm.

It can foster collaboration between patients and professionals.

The Self-soothe Box Self-harm Worksheet doesn’t necessarily have to be done by the individual only. It can be worked on by the patient and the mental healthcare professional, especially if the patient isn’t sure what to put on their list. The professional, or even the patient’s loved ones or friends, can provide suggestions to help the patient self-soothe in healthy and safe ways. It can be a trial and error kind of thing, and they can keep swapping out suggestions to see what works and what doesn’t.

It encourages patients or users of the worksheet to test their lists.

After creating lists for both the home box and outside box, the next step is to find boxes to fill with what they’ve listed and then open them whenever they have thoughts and urges of self-harm. If something on their list doesn’t help, they have other items that might. It’s a matter of testing and replacing the ones that don’t work, and they can keep doing this until they’ve built a roster of self-soothing materials and activities that all work.

How long does it take to accomplish this worksheet?
How long does it take to accomplish this worksheet?

Commonly asked questions

How long does it take to accomplish this worksheet?

It depends on the person. Some may find it easy and create lists in just a few minutes. Some may take an hour or more, and they may require help from professionals, loved ones, or friends.

What if some things I’ve listed don’t work, can I swap them out?

You personalize the Self-soothe boxes. If you find one or more of the things you currently have listed don’t do anything for you, you are more than welcome to swap them for something else. It’s a matter of determining what’s best for you.

What if I’m not seeing a professional? Am I allowed to download a copy of this worksheet?

Yes! You can definitely download a copy! We hope it helps you! Though, if your thoughts and urges of self-harm have greatly impacted you, we recommend that you see a professional so you have an expert to help you work through such thoughts and urges.

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