Dr. Forshee, Psy.D, LCSW lends her insight to Elite Daily about self-harm as seen in the popular show “Sharp Objects”
According to Dr. Forshee, Psy.D, LCSW, Camille Preaker’s behavior is not completely out of left field when it comes to people who are dealing with self-harm. Dr. Forshee, Psy.D, LCSW says that some self-harming individuals will carve words or images into their bodies on occasions, and that this behavior is treated no differently from other kinds of self-harm:
Self-harm is not one size fits all. This type of self-harm, where an individual carves words or images into various parts of their body, is considered in the general domain of self-harm behavior. This is something that is seen in practice, and is treated the same as self-harm that is not in the form of words.
Although Danielle Forshee, Psy.D, LCSW made it clear that the behavior of carving words is not uncommon for self-harm victims, of course, Camille Preaker’s instance will be unique in its depiction on Sharp Objects since its a fictionalized TV drama. In the Gillian Flynn novel that the series is based on, Camille’s word scars seem to have some sort of inexplicable power, often flaring up when an instance relating to that specific word would arise.
These words have a similar importance in the HBO series, as we see Camille brutally slashing at the word “fix” on her arm after finding her roommate in a psychiatric facility dead. Dr. Forshee, Psy.D, LCSW notes that self-harm is often related to trauma, as is evident in Camille’s case, and that there are two functions that Camille may be turning to self-harm for: the affect regulation function or the anti-dissociation function. The affect regulation function describes people who use self-harm as a psychological distraction as a way to block out traumatic triggers or memories, according to Dr. Forshee, Psy.D, LCSW. The anti-dissociation function is used by people who dissociate from their bodies when experiencing or recalling trauma, who use self-harm as a means to feel in touch with their bodies again — “Essentially, by engaging in self-harm, they are shocking their body back to reality,” Dr. Forshee, Psy.D, LCSW explains.
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