Non-Suicidal Self Injury (NSSI) and Treatment at BGC

Non-suicidal Self Injury (NSSI) Information and Treatment at BGC

Fran Tierney MA LCPC, Director of Special Programs

Ben Gordon Center

Non-suicidal self injury (NSSI) is the deliberate, self inflicted destruction of body tissue resulting in immediate damage, without the intent of suicidal intent. Recent prevalence studies indicated that as many as 17.2% of adolescents and 13.4% of young adults have participated in this behavior. The act of self injury can include a variety of behaviors, and is most commonly associated with:

  • Carving or cutting of the skin
  • Burning self
  • Banging or punching objects or self with the intention of hurting oneself

The intention behind the action is very important to examine and understand, as NSSI can look very much like a suicidal gesture. For this reason, professionals who work with self injury behavior, must look at the reason why, as well as the specific self injury which has occurred.

Detection and intervening in NSSI behavior can be difficult for parents, friends and teachers, since the acts are often secretive and are hidden under clothes.   If you notice any unexplained burns, cuts, scars it is important to pay attention and begin a conversation with your loved one.

Effective therapy interventions should focus on ways to offer NSSI clients the opportunity to:

  • To learn about and manage anxiety and depression
  • To learn and develop new coping skills, and improve internal awareness and improved communication with family and friends
  • To improve their capacity to regulate their emotional distress
  • To gain insight and understanding into recognizing their triggers and develop a plan for managing these triggers

The Special Programs Team, at the Ben Gordon Center offers quality NSSI services to our community in Individual therapy, Group therapy, and Family therapy settings. We also offer a combined treatment approach, including medication as an option, which is decided upon in collaboration with client, family and providers.

If you or someone you love, is struggling with Non-Suicidal Self Injury behaviors, please call 815.756.4875 to learn more and set up an assessment with one of our Special Programs clinicians.

Myth: Only members of the military get PTSD. Fact: Anyone who experiences or witnesses a traumatic event can develop PTSD

June is PTSD Awareness Month. Have you or someone you love experienced a life-threatening or terrifying event? While it is normal for most people to have some stress reactions after a traumatic event, if these reactions do not go away for a period of time, or if they significantly disrupt your life, you may be suffering from PTSD. Take a few minutes to complete an anonymous self-assessment to see if you are at risk.

Early Intervention Program Offered for Families

Ben Gordon Center’s Early Intervention (EI) Program: A wrap around approach to working with families, their children ages 2-5, and their childcare/early education and intervention systems to improve quality of life and overall functioning.

Early Intervention Case Management:  Case management advocacy, linkage, and referral; mental health case management and intensive consultation to all recommended programs, child caring agencies/day care providers and any other EI referrals and supports that may benefit the family and the child and is medically necessary to decrease symptomology and increase functioning of the system.

Community Support: Community support with families and children to assisting with developing a natural support system, assistance with obtaining and appropriately utilizing resources to further assist with improving the overall functioning of the system and children in it and driven to decrease symptomology and increase functioning of the system.

In home Community Supports: In home supports, education and parent training as well as individualized work with children and parents as recommended and medically necessary to decrease symptomology and increase functioning of the system.

Chicago Parent Program (CPP) developed out of Rush University in collaboration with parents of young children to address those issues of greatest concern to parents. Evidence based for ages 2-5. 11 week parenting skills and support program with a 12th week booster session.

Play therapy:  Play therapy is generally employed with children aged 3 through 11 and provides a way for them to express their experiences and feelings through a natural, self-guided, self-healing process. As children’s experiences and knowledge are often communicated through play, it becomes an important vehicle for them to know and accept themselves and others. This is thought to help them towards better social integration, growth and development.

Medical necessity for these specialty services will be derived through the completion of a full- comprehensive assessment of the child, family, and overall support system functioning and needs.  For more information and details on this Early Intervention program call the experts at 815-756-4875.


Self Injury Recovery Program

Ben Gordon Center Announces a New Program Dedicated to Recovery and Improved Self Care.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with your thoughts, feelings, and emotions? It is estimated that 14% of our population engage in some type of self-injury behavior.

Self-harm is a way of expressing and dealing with deep distress and emotional pain. As counterintuitive as it may sound to those on the outside, hurting yourself makes you feel better. In fact, you may feel like you have no choice. Injuring yourself is the only way you know how to cope with feelings like sadness, self-loathing, emptiness, guilt, and rage.

The problem is that the relief that comes from self-harming doesn’t last very long. It’s like slapping on a Band-Aid when what you really need are stitches. It may temporarily stop the bleeding, but it doesn’t fix the underlying injury. And it also creates its own problems.

If you’re like most people who self-injure, you try to keep what you’re doing secret. Maybe you feel ashamed or maybe you just think that no one would understand. But hiding who you are and what you feel is a heavy burden.  Ultimately, the secrecy and guilt affects your relationships with your friends and family members and the way you feel about yourself. It can make you feel even more lonely, worthless, and trapped.

We offer specialized individual and group therapy.  If you or someone you know would like to learn more about our special program at Ben Gordon Center, please call 815.756.4875 and ask for Fran Tierney.

Treatment works, and recovery is possible.

**NEW** – Relationship Challenges Group

This 8 week group will cover a broad list of topics that will be therapeutic and educational.  It is based on aspects of Pragmatic Experiential Couples Therapy.

People that will benefit from this group are those who are struggling with finding healthy romantic relationships or those who are struggling to make their current romantic relationship work for them.

Topics to be covered: 

1)      Communication- basic techniques.  Learning to become a good listener.

2)      Validation of your partner—letting them know I hear them and I care.

3)      Learning how to argue in a fair, productive way.

4)      Acceptance of yourself and your partner for who you are in this moment.  Learning to recognize your needs and your partners needs.

5)      Motivation – what is your motivation for this relationship?  How can you encourage your partner to have motivation to change/challenge your patterns.

6)      Learning how to heal past hurts.

7)      Intimacy- nurturing your relationship.

8)      Review session—open forum for questions and challenges.

Join us every Wednesday evening starting on June 6th from 7:00 p.m. – 8:30pm at the Ben Gordon Center.  For more information please call, Fran Tierney at 815-756-4875.



Counseling services are now available at Kishwaukee College

  • Flexible appointment times on Wednesday & Thursday
  • Licensed Clinical staff offer individual & group counseling options.
  • Call (815)-756-4875 to schedule your appointment

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