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Cutting: Understanding and Overcoming Self-Mutilation
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Cutting: Understanding and Overcoming Self-Mutilation

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,695 Ratings  ·  90 Reviews
"Cutting" takes the reader through the psychological experience of the person who seeks relief from mental anguish in self-inflicted physical pain. Steven Levenkron traces the components that predispose a personality to self-mutilation: genetics, family experience, childhood trauma, and parental behavior. Written for self-mutilators, parents, friends, and therapists, this ...more
Paperback, 269 pages
Published September 14th 1998 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published September 2nd 1998)
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Oct 29, 2009 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: To the morbidly curious.
Shelves: loathed, psychology
Okay, fine - this book provides some interesting insight into the world of cutters, and why they do what they do. Clinically, it's fine.

However, Levenkron's tone is unbearable, and the book is packed with these nauseating case examples in which he acts as some great guru of wonder and light, the only one who can possibly understand the struggle of the poor, misunderstood cutter. His description of how his patients eyes light up when he spouts his "wisdom" is almost laughable. In addition, there
levenkron is a kind of annoying writer. he's come out with maybe the first ya-lit book on anorexia ( the best little girl in the world) and then his follow-up on self-injury, and this book is his "conclusion" on self-injurious behavior.

his main thesis is that people (mostly teenage girls) cut because they have a lack of communication. in behavioral terms, they are indirectly communicating their intense emotional pain by outwardly hurting themselves, a physical manifestation of the "psychache" (t
Jennifer Day
Jun 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
I suppose in a clinical light this might be a good book. But for a former cutter and self-mutilator it came off as extremely patronizing and as if all the author wanted was a pat on the back. There are gems hidden throughout the book but there are many others such as The Skin Game (I think that's the title) and Bright Red Scream. If you really want/need more information on what self-mutilation is really about and what it can be like to suffer from this often misunderstood and misaligned afflicti ...more
The first half of this book was good. It had a lot of information about early research on self-harmers, what predisposes certain people to the behaviors, and WHY people use this coping mechanism. The second part dealt with treatment though. Normally I would enjoy that, since I work with kids who have this problem. However, I found Levenkron's cookie cutter approach a little insulting. Also, by about the 2/3 point I was super tired of listening to him talk about himself and what an amazing therap ...more
Melynda Yesenia
Feb 06, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: medicos
As an introduction to books written about this subject, and the field is growing all the time, Levenkron's book is not so bad. I read this at the library after practically tripping over it jammed between two huge art books in the contemporary/ coffee table section, like someone had been reading it incognito.

This book oversimplifies a subject that is incredibly complex and screwed up. His main stance on the subject seems to be that cutting as a behavior arises from being overlooked or abused, pr
Oct 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who self mutilate and those who love them.
Recommended to Jennifer by: I searched for books on this subject all by my little self.
This book was written by an actual Doctor who uses specific sessions with patients as examples of why people cut (or burn) and what he did for each specific case. I found it quite interesting and learned a few tricks to use on myself. It was also more proof that people cut for different reasons and what works for one person doesn't always work for another. It is the best book I have found on this subject so far.
I picked this up at the library after being rather disappointed with A Bright Red Scream. Cutting is a much less sensationalized book on the issue, and one that I think is a lot more useful for those who would seek to understand the issue more thoroughly. The subtitle of the book makes it sound like a self-help book for people who cut or otherwise self-mutilate, but it really reads more like something written for concerned friends and parents, or for therapists who are just beginning to understa ...more
Kate Stewart
Feb 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
I purchased this book to get a better insight to the world of self harm, for a thesis at uni. This book exceeded the expectations that I had -which were to gain a more sound understanding and add further depth in my knowledge of the issue.

Levenkron offers many factual (and often confronting) case studies which allows the reader a glance into what the world of self mutilation is like. It is easy to sympathise or empathise for the majority of the patients he discusses, which I believe was the emot
Grant Talabay
Jul 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book covers the seemingly insane notion of cutting. It breaks the practice down simply so that the lay person can understand it. Highly recommend if you know someone who self mutilates.
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
Very informative, but I had to skip the personal story section, since I found it triggering.
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