This workshop outlines the Alternatives to Self Harm approach ASH©, drawing on the APEX© model designed by Diane Clare. Consequent to trauma and in other complex presentations, people can seek ways of regulating distress through selfharm, commonly in the context of dissociative states. In forensic and mental health services, Clare found attitudes of negativity, bewilderment and disgust expressed by professionals in response to self-harm. Such reactions can stigmatise, shame and increase the risk of harming.
Approaches like DBT and STEPPS (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and Systems Training in Emotional Predictability and Problem Solving) are demonstrated as effective in emotional regulation and self harm reduction. Such approaches are not universally accessible in some settings and even when such approaches are available, there is sometimes a barrier to clients being deemed ready or committed due to continued high-risk self-harming behaviour. Clare developed an easily learned and inexpensive approach to apply to assisting those people whose self-harming is a key presenting difficulty. The APEX© model is found to
be effective as a pre-commitment phase prior to entering into DBT or STEPPS or as an adjunct to such approaches. This is an innovative and respectful way to effectively help to reduce or cease self-harm, drawing on the evidence-base using this model.
This workshop outlines the 4 phases of the APEX© model: Attitude, Purpose, Emotional First Aid Kit and the X-Factor (a self-contract) that is tailored to the person’s needs. Learning through didactic and interactive activities, workshop participants will consider how to apply the model to practice.