September is Suicide Prevention Month, and here at TDC we’ve been using our blog to begin conversations around this often-taboo topic. On both the social work and MFT licensing exams, this topic is sure to show up in several forms. We have focused our free practice questions this month on suicide and today we explore the topic of self-injury. These topics are highlighted on licensing exams because our licensing organizations want to ensure that we are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to recognize the signs and symptoms of risk to self, distinguish between life threatening and non life threatening behaviors, and take the appropriate steps based on the level of risk.
TDC’s study systems help prepare you for this topic in a number of ways: we provide concrete information on danger to self and others, risk factors, signs, behaviors, how to evaluate the level of risk, and a spectrum of interventions that will be reflected on the exam. We also provide numerous practice questions with rationales that help you think about this topic from all angles.
Let’s get into a practice question that explores this topic.
A 25-year-old woman has been working with a social worker for two years around issues of anxiety, depression, and non suicidal self-injury. For the past 18 months, the client has abstained from cutting herself, but came into the most recent session wearing long sleeves on a hot summer day. The social worker inquired about this and the client lifted her sleeves to reveal several shallow cuts on her forearms that appeared to be healing. The client stated that she got into a fight with her best friend a few nights ago and in a moment of intense emotion engaged in cutting. What should the social worker do FIRST?
A. Discuss voluntary hospitalization with the client
B. Teach the client coping skills to utilize in moments of intense emotion
C. Explore the thoughts and feelings that preceded the client’s self-injury
D. Refer the client to an MD to take care of the client’s injuries
So, what would we do here? Leave your answer in the comments below and be sure to tune in tomorrow for the answer and a discussion of the rationale!