The following is a book that has been written by a variety of individuals with experience of self harm, both personal and professional. The review below summarises one individuals response to the book.
Harmless receives the royalties from this book and we are ever grateful for ever sale made.
Our encounters with self-harm
Charlie Baker, Clare Shaw, Fran Biley
PCCS Books, 2013 229pp, £18.00
Reviewed by Jackie Townsend
I was challenged, shocked, enlightened, outraged and at times deeply moved by the narratives in this book. I thought I ‘knew’ about self- harm; this book was a forceful reminder that each person’s experience of self-harm is unique and different. What came across most powerfully was the importance of listening and trying to understand what the person’s self-harming means to them.
It is not an easy read and at times I had to pause for breath or to wipe away tears. It incorporates narratives, poems, reflections and thoughts about self-harm by people who have self-harmed and by family, friends and professionals. The most powerful voices are those of the people who have self- harmed or are still self- harming. Most narratives end with a personal reflection on
how the contributor views their own story and the messages they would like to convey to professionals and/ or others in their own or similar positions.
I cannot recommend this book enough. Written with honesty and dignity, these accounts bear witness to the sometimes monstrous failings of services ostensibly set up to offer help and support. It invites – even demands of its readers that they examine their own attitudes and practices towards self-harm honestly, without defensiveness. But the accounts also offer a message of hope and reflections on what can make a difference.