Self-inflicted violence (SIV) is a common means of managing the after-effects of traumatic experiences. Intentional wounding of one's own body serves to temporarily manage many of the emotional struggles that stem from historical, unhealed trauma. Most people living with self-injury have experienced abuse. They have found SIV helpful in dealing with overwhelming feelings, psychic stress, flashbacks and triggers, and other repercussions common to trauma survivors. Once understood in context, SIV can be healed by acknowledging the needs it serves and addressing the trauma from which it springs.
"People who confront the roots of their pain, and identify the patterns of survival used to manage it, build a relationship with themselves that is based on dignity and self-compassion."
Ruta Mazelis, Demystifying Self-Inflicted Violence: Lessons Learned from the Past Dozen Years, The Cutting Edge (Spring 2002):1-3.
In 2006, Sidran Institute hired Ruta Mazelis, the publisher of The Cutting Edge newsletter for people living with SIV, to head its new program, Healing Self Injury. For 15 years The Cutting Edge served as a unique resource for those seeking information on this often-misunderstood issue. The final issue was published in 2008 as we made the transition to the web. Selected articles, commentaries, written and artistic contributions from the readership, and reviews of various resources for those who live with SIV, originally published in The Cutting Edge, are the foundation for this website. Recent issue of The Cutting Edge newsletter (pdf).
The Permanente Journal, the publication of the Kaiser Permanente Health System, reviewed The Cutting Edge and described it this way: "The Cutting Edge offers insight into a condition that is mystifying, disturbing, frustrating, and often misunderstood. For those of us who otherwise could not fathom what it is like to find relief in pain, the grassroots voice of The Cutting Edge brings alive the experience of being a self-injurer." Entire Permanente Journal review (pdf).
Ruta Mazelis is a popular speaker, trainer, program development consultant, and content specialist for Sidran Traumatic Stress Institute on self-harming behaviors and related issues. She is editor of this Healing Self-Injury website, which derived from her groundbreaking international quarterly publication, The Cutting Edge: A Newsletter for People Living with Self-Inflicted Violence, 1990-2008. Ruta has worked in the trauma field as a researcher, consultant, author, and policy advocate. She has also worked as a counselor in inpatient chemical dependency services as well as in outpatient adolescent treatment. Her expertise impacts local communities, national systems of care, and international projects as well. In addition to The Cutting Edge newsletter, she has published numerous articles and contributed to research studies about self-inflicted injury, women, co-occurring disorders and violence, and substance abuse treatment.
She frequently consults to the federal Center for Mental Health Services on topics related to abuse, dual diagnoses, self-injury, and criminal-justice involved survivors. She provided extensive technical assistance to the SAMHSA Women, Co-occurring Disorders and Violence Project. Currently, she serves on the National Trauma Consortium Board of Directors and as a program manager for CMHS's National Center for Trauma-Informed Care (NCTIC).
She regularly participates in media interviews about self-inflicted violence and trauma, authors insightful articles on related issues, and provides compelling presentations and speeches at conferences and meetings. Ruta has a degree in Physical Therapy from Cleveland State University.
Ruta Mazelis's speaking expertise includes: self-injury and self-inflicted violence, child abuse; re-traumatization; trauma and co-occurring disorders; the healing process; the impact of trauma; struggles often encountered in healing; and the importance of trauma-informed care.
Because many people underestimate the developmental, emotional, psychological, and spiritual injuries that can result when people experience or witness traumatic events, Sidran Traumatic Stress Institute, Inc. (formerly Foundation) is:
• a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization of international scope that
• helps people understand, recover from, and treat:
• traumatic stress (including PTSD)
• dissociative disorders, and
• co-occurring issues, such as addictions, self injury, and suicidality.
We develop and deliver:
• educational programming
• resources for treatment, support, and self-help
• trauma-informed community and professional collaboration projects and
• publications about trauma and recovery
Sidran’s constituency is made up of any individuals or organizations touched by the effects of trauma, including
• adults, adolescents, and children who have experienced or witnessed traumatic events,
• supportive friends and family members,
• health, mental health, crisis, public safety, and victims services professionals
• support networks, schools, faith communities, and more
You can contact Ruta Mazelis via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
For permission to reproduce materials found on this site, call Sidran Institute at (410) 825-8888 or email email@example.com