Safer self-injury or assisted self-harm?

Abstract
Psychiatric patients may try (or express a desire) to injure themselves in hospital in order to cope with overwhelming emotional pain. Some health care practitioners and patients propose allowing a controlled amount of self-injury to occur in inpatient facilities, so as to prevent escalation of distress. Is this approach an example of professional assistance with harm? Or, is the approach more likely to minimise harm, by ensuring safer self-injury? In this article, I argue that health care practitioners who use harm-minimisation can be considered to be helping physical injury to occur, although they do not encourage the act. I consider why there are compelling reasons to believe that a patient who self-injures is not maximally autonomous in relation to that choice. However, I then move onto argue that allowing a degree of self-injury may enable engagement with psychotherapy (enhancing autonomy) and behavioural change. In these circumstances, allowing injury (with precautions) may not be harm, all things considered.
Keywords Assistance  Ethics  Harm  Psychiatry  Self-injury
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11017-010-9135-z
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 28,126
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Principles of Biomedical Ethics.Tom L. Beauchamp - 1979 - Oxford University Press.
Causation as Influence.David Lewis - 2000 - Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):182-197.
Harm to Others.Joel Feinberg - 1987 - Philosophical Review 96 (2):295-298.

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Death's Distinctive Harm.Stephan Blatti - 2012 - American Philosophical Quarterly 49 (4):317-30.
Moral Injury and Relational Harm: Analyzing Rape in Darfur.Sarah Clark Miller - 2009 - Journal of Social Philosophy 40 (4):504-523.
Injury, Harm, Damage, Pain, Etc.Ramchandra Gandhi - 1973 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 34 (2):266-269.
The Moral Status of Enabling Harm.Samuel C. Rickless - 2011 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 92 (1):66-86.
The Nature and Disvalue of Injury.Seth Lazar - 2009 - Res Publica 15 (3):289-304.
Nonreductive Ethical Naturalism.Andrew B. Schoedinger - 2007 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 1:3-6.

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2010-03-20

Total downloads

77 ( #68,377 of 2,171,803 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #326,702 of 2,171,803 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums