Treating the Cycle of Self-Destructive Behaviors

General Information

Presenter: Lisa Ferentz, LCSW-C, DAPA

Date: Thursday, May 4, 2023. 1-4 PM Eastern Time.

Fee: $115: Currently $0. Special 10th Anniversary promotion.

Venue: Online Webinar

Includes full technical support, handouts, and CE credits.

Treating the Cycle of Self-Destructive Behaviors


Participants will be introduced to a paradigm shift that incorporates concepts of trauma re-enactment and meta-communication into the treatment of self-destructive behaviors. They will learn how triggering events, negative cognitions and affect, dissociation, and anxiety fuel the chronic and cyclical nature of self-harming behaviors.  The “Cycle” will also provide a concrete template for a variety of creative and effective treatment strategies designed to reduce and eventually extinguish the behaviors.

An emphasis will be placed on interventions that are designed to increase internal and external safety, alleviate anxiety, short-circuit dissociation, promote grounding and containment, and help clients self-soothe in healthier ways.  We will also address how to avoid the power struggles and increased self-harm that often accompanies ineffective “safety contracts”. A more effective, alternative contract, called CARESS, will be presented. Clinical case examples, clients’ writings, and artwork will be incorporated into the workshop.


Lisa is a recognized expert in the strengths-based, de-pathologized treatment of trauma and has been in private practice for over 39 years.  She presents workshops and keynote addresses nationally and internationally and is a clinical consultant to practitioners and mental health agencies in the United States, Canada, the UK and Ireland.  She has been an Adjunct Faculty member at several Universities, and is the Founder of “The Ferentz Institute,” now in its fifteenth year of providing continuing education to mental health professionals and graduating several thousand clinicians from her two Certificate Programs in Advanced Trauma Treatment.  In 2009 she was voted the “Social Worker of Year” by the Maryland Society for Clinical Social Work.  Lisa is the author of “Treating Self-Destructive Behaviors in Traumatized Clients: A Clinician’s Guide,” now in its second edition, “Letting Go of Self-Destructive Behaviors: A Workbook of Hope and Healing,” and “Finding Your Ruby Slippers: Transformative Life Lessons From the Therapist’s Couch.”   Lisa also hosted a weekly radio talk show, writes blogs and articles for websites on trauma, attachment, self-destructive behaviors, and self-care, teaches on many webinars, and is a contributor to  You can follow Lisa’s work on her website,, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Treating the Cycle of Self-Destructive Behaviors


At the conclusion of this program, participants will be better able to:

1.Define the dynamics of trauma re-enactment syndrome and the meta-communication of self-destructive behaviors.

2. Describe a chronic cycle of self-harm and the ways in which dissociation and anxiety influence the process.

3. Describe and utilize CARESS, an alternative to standard safety contracts.

4. Implement at least 3 creative strategies that help re-ground and re-establish a sense of safety in triggered trauma survivors

5. Implement at least two creative strategies designed to promote healthier affect regulation skills.

Application Deadline

February 26, 2023 or until all training spaces are filled, whichever comes first.

Notification of Acceptance

Applicants will be notified, via email, of acceptance when registration is complete and payment is received.

Refund/Cancellation Policy 

Tuition/registration payments are refundable until February 1,  2023.  Cancellations after this date are non-refundable. In this situation, we will attempt to find someone to take your slot (based on our waiting list).


Conference is via webinar. For live options, there will be handicap accessibility.

Course level


Level of clinician 



If you require ADA accommodations, please contact our office 30 days or more before the event. We cannot ensure accommodations without adequate prior notification

The Grievance Policy for trainings provided by NEFESH INTERNATIONAL is available here. Please Note: Licensing Boards change regulations often, and while we attempt to stay abreast of their most recent changes, if you have questions or concerns about this course meeting your specific board’s approval, we recommend you contact your board directly to obtain a ruling.

CE Information

Continuing Education Credit is granted through Nefesh International for the following professions: Psychologists, Social workers, Mental Health Counselors, and LMFTs. It is the participant’s responsibility to check with their individual state boards to verify CE requirements for their state.NEFESH International, Inc. is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Psychology as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychologists #PSY-0116.NEFESH International is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed marriage and family therapists #MFT-0046NEFESH International is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for Mental Health Counselor #MHC-0082NEFESH International is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0048.This program is co-sponsored by NEFESH International and Neuhoff Psychological Consulting . NEFESH International is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. NEFESH International, maintains responsibility for this program and its content.


Biegel,Gina and Cooper, Stacie, (2019) The Mindfulness Workbook for Teen Self-harm: Skills to Help You Overcome Cutting and Self-harming Behaviors, Thoughts and Feelings. Instant Help Publishers.


Ferentz, Lisa, (2015) Treating Self-Destructive Behaviors in Trauma Survivors: A Clinician’s Guide. second edition New York: Routledge/ Taylor, Francis and Bacon

Ferentz, Lisa, (2015) Letting Go of Self-Destructive Behaviors: A Workbook of Hope and Healing.  New York: Routledge/ Taylor, Francis and Bacon


Sheehy, K, Noureen, A, et al. (2019) An examination of the relationship between shame, guilt and self-harm: A systemic review and meta-analysis. Child Psychology Review. Vol 73


Stagaki, M, Nolte, T, Feigenbaum, J et al. (2022) The mediating role of attachment and mentalizing in the relationship between childhood maltreatment, self-harm and suicidality. Child Abuse and Neglect Vol 128


Wupperman, P. (2019) Treating impulsive, addictive, and self-destructive behaviors: Mindfulness and modification therapy. The Guilford Press

Satisfactory Completion:

Participants must have paid the tuition fee, signed in or logged in and out each day, attended the entire webinar, and completed an evaluation to receive a certificate (for pre-recorded program, a post-test with a passing grade of 80% is required.) Failure to sign/log in or out will result in forfeiture of credit for the entire course. No exceptions will be made. Partial credit is not available. Certificates are available electronically after satisfactory course completion. A link will be provided for those who have completed the training.


Treating the Cycle of Self-Destructive Behaviors


May 4th 1 p.m.-4 p.m. ET


          A paradigm shift in treatment

Trauma re-enactment and meta-communication: when clients show us their pain narratives through self-destructive behaviors

                              Processing a client’s journal entry

The cycle of self-destructive behaviors/intervention

                              Triggering events /Journaling                             

                              Negative cognitions / Re-framing

                    Negative affect / Safe places and containment,


2:30-2:45pm        Break



2:45-4:15pm        Tension and anxiety/ Breath work

Dissociation/re-grounding strategies,

                              Self-harm / Incorporating CARESS/

Processing clients’ artwork

Positive and negative outcomes/endorphins

Emotional vulnerability/ Remembered resources      

Treating the Cycle of Self-Destructive Behaviors