Skip to main content

For Researchers

Aims and Objectives

Overarching aim

To develop and evaluate a new therapeutic approach with individuals who repeatedly self-harm. To ensure the therapy is deliverable in the NHS without a major programme of training and implementation, we will modify existing therapies rather than develop an entirely new therapy. The intervention will target factors leading to repeated self-harm as well as associated psychological problems, aiming to improve quality of life and minimize damaging episodes of self-harm. The main modifications will focus on the assessment of positive as well as negative functions of repeated self-harm for the individual, coupled with therapeutic help in, for example, finding functionally-equivalent but less damaging ways of meeting personal needs.


  1. Develop a clinical assessment that identifies both positive and negative functions of self-harm from the individual’s perspective, and that is acceptable to patients and usable by therapists trained in therapeutic approaches that are currently available in the NHS.
  2. Produce therapeutic materials that are based upon this work and develop a related training programme and intervention manual to allow this new self-harm-specific approach to be used as part of existing therapies.
  3. Identify and train therapists experienced in managing self-harm, who are willing to undertake training and deliver the new intervention in a research setting.
  4. Evaluate the feasibility and acceptability (to patients and therapists) of this modified therapy.
  5. Evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the new intervention in a Phase 3 RCT with an internal pilot and process evaluation.
  6. Investigate the processes of delivery, including mechanisms of change, for the modified therapy.