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COEHD professor authors counseling book on self-injury

by Jo Ann Jones, COEHD    |    October 19, 2017

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Dr. Heather Trepal, professor in the Department of Counseling, recently co-authored a book on non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) that was published by Routledge. This is her first book.

“Non-Suicidal Self-Injury: Wellness Perspectives on Behaviors, Symptoms, and Diagnosis,” features more than 15 years of research and clinical experience on NSSI, or intentional, bodily self-harm that is done without suicidal motivations.

The book, which was co-authored with Dr. Kelly Wester, professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, views NSSI from a development and wellness perspective rather than from a perspective of abnormality.

“This relational approach to understanding and working with people who self-injure is important to me,” said Trepal. “It stands in contrast to some of the dominant discourse that pathologizes these clients.”

The book includes topics on family treatment, NSSI prevention, and advocacy, which are not commonly found in other books on NSSI. It also includes practical tools and resources for professional counselors.

“Our goal in writing this book was to present information in a practical and applied way for both clinicians and clients, as well as the families of these clients,” said Trepal. “We wanted to shift the conversation from the dominant narrative that pathologizes these behaviors into one that focuses on development, wellness, and treatment.”

Trepal joined the counseling faculty in 2004. She received her Ph.D. in Counseling and Human Development Services from Kent State University. Her research interests include self-injurious behavior, body image resilience, and bilingual counselor training and supervision.

“Prevention and advocacy fit within the counseling profession’s philosophy,” said Trepal. “This is how I view non-suicidal self-injury and our role as counselors and advocates.”

Learn more about “Non-Suicidal Self-Injury: Wellness Perspectives on Behaviors, Symptoms, and Diagnosis.”

Learn more about Dr. Heather Trepal.

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