Digging into a cutter’s mind

  • August 13, 2007

{mosimage}Inside A Cutter’s Mind: Understanding And Help Those Who Self Injure by Jerusha Clark and Dr. Earl Henslin (NavPress, paperback, 233 pages, $12.05).

Inside a Cutter’s Mind is a book for those who either injure themselves or know others who harm themselves and want to help them.

Authors Jerusha Clark and Dr. Earl Henslin dig deep in their attempt to find the root of the problem. Clark is the main author and gives several examples of self-harmers’ struggles.

The book captures the reader’s attention right from the start, beginning with the testimony of Jordan. It is effective because it is written in the first person and details Jordan’s history of harming himself.

Clark also writes about Princess Diana and her self-inflicted injuries, which proves that people who have achieved fame can also struggle with self harm.

Many self-injurers are crying for attention and long to be loved. Clark explains the difference between attention seeking and attention needing, which is essential to understanding self-injurers.

{sa 1600060544}Clark finds reasons and motives for self injury. This helps self-harmers as well as their friends and family spot the signs before they start to cut deeper or burn themselves more severely. Clark states that eating disorders are a form of self-injury as well as burning, cutting and over exercising. She says that eating disorders are usually accompanied by a second form of self-harm. Unfortunately, while Clark admits to having had an eating disorder when she was in high school she doesn’t mention a second form of self-inflicted injury and she didn’t give her own testimony. Clark could have talked about her struggles, but decided not to.

The medical aspect to self-inflicted injuries is well illustrated in this book. There are photos to accompany the explanations and the authors don’t shy away from getting into the gory details. If you have a weak stomach and can’t handle reading about blood, cutting deep into the flesh and mental illness, then this book is not for you. It’s not a book to read when eating a snack or drinking coffee. It’s a serious book for people who harm themselves, for psychologists and for people who are seeking to help and understand self harmers.

Clark quotes from the Bible, especially in the last chapter, When the body is ravaged, the soul cries out, which is generally well done. However, when it comes to Communion, she chooses to quote someone’s testimony instead of John 6 (see p.194). Natalie talks about how the bread and wine symbolizing Jesus’ body and blood helped her heal spiritually. Spiritual healing, as well as mental and physical healing, is important to talk about, but it’s important to make sure that it reflects what Jesus tells us.

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