Discovering that your teen “cuts” or self-injures his or her body is absolutely terrifying for a parent. You may fear that your teen is contemplating suicide. The Shield Program for Adolescent Self-Injury at Loma Linda University Behavioral Medicine Center is designed to help your teen learn ways to cope with extreme emotions without resorting to self-injury and to help parents understand how overwhelming emotions lead some teens to hurt themselves.

In the Shield Program, families will learn that self-injurious behavior is defined as deliberate injury inflicted to one’s own body without the intent to die. An important distinction is that it is deliberate and causes ​

Reasons for Admission

Bodily/tissue damage, but is without conscious suicidal ideation. Self-injury is also called self-mutilation, self-harm, cutting or self-inflicted violence.

Self-Injurious Behaviors

Reasons for Self-Injury

Shield Program Groups

Through a structured outpatient program using Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), teens will learn specific skills to stop self-injurious behaviors and manage emotions effectively. Parents will be involved each evening, receiving support and skills training to help their teen learn to “create a life worth living.”

Adolescent Skills Training Group

Teens attend this group to learn specific DBT skills to stop self-injurious behaviors and manage emotions effectively. This group helps teens learn to tolerate and reduce emotional pain while learning to change destructive patterns.

Multifamily Skills Training Group

Teens and their parents/guardians will learn skills simultaneously. This group enables parents not only to serve as coaches for their teen, but also acquire skills to improve effective family communication.

Parent Skills Training Group

Parents/guardians attend this group for support and to learn better ways to handle frustration, guilt and their own overwhelming emotions. Family members are educated on DBT skills, family roles and how to help prevent their teen from lifelong emotional and physical scarring due to self-injurious behaviors.

Weekly Individual Session

Teens will have a weekly session with a DBT therapist to assess their individual progress.