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Norman M.
Norman M., Principal psychotherapist in private practice. Newspaper contributor, over 2000 satisfied clients on JA
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2568
Experience:  ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), ECP, UKCP Registered.
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Have just found out that my married son of 34 has started to

Resolved Question:

Have just found out that my married son of 34 has started to self harm. He doesn't know that I know. Can you give me any advice on what to do.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Norman M. replied 5 years ago.
NormanM :

Hello, II'm Norman. Are you ready to chat?

NormanM :

Just type when you are ready

NormanM :

Still there?


Hello, I'm Helen and ready.

I knew he was suffering from depression, he is on medication, but know he has been very low all week. He wont talk to me, but told my other son last night, showed him his stomach. Very worried.

NormanM :

Thanks, Helen. The urgent thing of course, is to get him into proper therapy as soon as possibe, and since has been prepared to open up to his brothedr, then that is probably the best way to get through to him.

NormanM :

Would his brother be willing to help?

NormanM :

This is a very difficult situation, and to be honest, there is no simple solution.

Until someone with a problem accepts that there is a problem, they won’t do anything about solving it. That’s the first hurdle. The second is convincing them that help is available, and that the should accept it.

Sustained gentle persuasion is at least part of the answer. Just being there to listen, and letting the person know that you are there for them may let them build up enough trust inside themselves to begin to deal with it.

You may not to be able to solve their problem, or for that matter understand how they feel, but just listening and letting them talk can be really helpful.

NormanM :

Perhaps you could engage his brother in this, and suggest that he uses this approach

NormanM :

Getting people to open up can be difficult. It has to be done sensitively so that the person does not feel put down or alienated. A gentle approach like ‘It must be difficult feeling as you do. Perhaps we could talk about it? is often the best start.

Choose your time and place carefully if possible so that the person feels as safe and as comfortable as possible.

Try to make sure that the person feels that you are on their side, and try to use ‘open questions’ – ones that don’t allow a simple “Yes” or “No” answer.

NormanM :

With me so far?

NormanM :

Helen, are you having a problem getting through?


Yes, I

was wondering if I could mention it to his G.P. who is also my doctor, or would that be out of order?

NormanM :

No reason why you should not mention it. Now some m ore advice for his brother

NormanM :

Don’t try to give them solutions, because as they open up and talk, the person begins to find their own solutions.

Good beginnings are:

Where – 'Where did that happen?'

When – 'When did you find out……?'

What – 'What else was happening?'

How – 'How did you feel?'

Can you tell me…….

How are you feeling? This helps to get past the bare facts of a situation, and lets people

begin to look at their inner turmoil.

Don’t push hard or try to tell them what they MUST do – give them space and time to talk.

Get a couple of magazine articles about depression, and leave them lying around

There are some things you can do, and here are some tips:

What you can say that helps:

I’m here for you – you’re not alone.

What causes these thoughts and feelings is a real illness, and it can be treated..

You may not believe it now, but someday, this will pass and you’ll feel differently.

I care about you and want to help, even if I don’t really understand what you are going through right now, how you feel, and what you’re thinking

Don’t ever give up – just hang on one more minute or hour – whatever you can.

You are important to me. Your life is important to me, and to everybody who knows you

I’d like you to tell me what I can do now to help you.

We can get through this together

NormanM :

Cheer up- it could be worse

Quit worrying about it – you’ll be fine

Your just imagining it, it’s all in your head.

Everybody feels like this sometimes

You’ll just have to help yourself

I’d have thought you would be better by now.

Get over it and snap out of it.

Grow up and act like an adult.

What’s the matter with you anyway?

You’ll also find some helpful information here:


Thank you. Helen.

NormanM :

Is there any other information you would like?


Not at the moment, may I get in touch with you again?

NormanM :

Of course you may. Just put "For Norman" at the start of your question.


Thank you. Talk again.

NormanM :

Thanks to you too!

NormanM :

Sorry, I forgot to ask you to rate my answer - would you mind doing so,please?

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