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Cutting Down: A CBT approach for the assessment and treatment of young people who self-harm

Date: 20th and 21st June, 2019

Venue: ORTUS Learning and Events Centre, 82 – 96 Grove Lane, London SE5 8SN

Facilitators: Dr Lucy Taylor, Dr Mima Simic, Dr Dennis Ougrin, Dr Christy Wellings, Dr Katrina Hunt, Dr Julian Baudinet


The Cutting Down is a manualised CBT model for working with young people who self-harm and engage in suicidal behaviours. The Cutting down manualised CBT workbook was initially developed as a brief 14-session treatment programme for young people who self-harm and has since been adapted to add 5 sessions for their parents/carers, as well as exercises and strategies to support young people who are engaging in suicidal behaviours. Although primarily drawing on traditional CBT strategies, it also integrates techniques from ACT and DBT models. The programme addresses symptoms of depression and anxiety and other maintaining factors to self-harm. It teaches young people and their parents/carers adaptive skills to address emotional difficulties that contribute to self-harm.

The Cutting Down manual has five parts, broadly divided into assessment of self-harm, and motivation strategies, followed by behavioural and cognitive strategies for depression, emotion based work, alongside ACT based work in dealing with thoughts and feelings. The main coping strategies are covered in Part three, ending with relapse prevention and moving forwards. The fifth part is the parent/carer based work and is worked alongside the young person work. The manual offers specific evidence-based skills for self-harm, such as problem-solving, improved communication and anger, anxiety and hopelessness management.

Feedback from therapists and young people who have used the manual has been positive and RCT evidence suggests that the treatment can reduce self-harm in a shorter space of time compared to treatment as usual.


  • To present the research and theoretical underpinning of this manualised approach and to illustrate how the theory relates to the development of a CBT programme for working with young people who self-harm.
  • To provide participants with the skills, knowledge and confidence to apply this model and programme to young people who present with self-harm, in their relevant clinical setting.
  • To promote the delivery of a more consistent, evidence-based and brief approach to the treatment of self-harm in young people. In particular, to be able to offer a flexible and formulation driven model.
  • To illustrate through discussion, teaching, role-play and practice (facilitative group participation) how therapists can offer young people and their parents/carers a thorough and robust assessment and treatment package for self-harm and associated emotional problems.


This two-day workshop will focus on the practical application of cognitive-behavioural techniques for self-harm and maintaining factors. The workshop will be very participative, involve a summary of the relevant literature and a manual based approach to working with this client group. Manualised content covered will also include sessions with parents/carers and include some third wave CBT techniques, to offer a flexible formulation driven treatment for individual clients. Participants will have an opportunity to learn and practice all the module skills and go away with a practical and accessible approach to working with clients who self-harm. This training is suitable for CAMHS staff and other therapists/clinicians working with young people who self-harm. The presenters will assume that professionals attending will have a basic understanding of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).


  • At the end of the training participants will be familiar with a CBT based approach that draws on other evidence-based models, including ACT and DBT (no prior knowledge of DBT necessary) and focuses on maintaining factors to self-harm (including symptoms of depression and anxiety), as well as young people who engage in suicidal behaviours.
  • This training will equip participants to apply a flexible and formulation driven model supported with the use of worksheets and handouts

Our trainings are very popular, and we normally encourage the attendance of more than one professional from each team. We recommend early booking to guarantee a place and thus avoid disappointment.

The deadline for applications is 15 May 2019. Late registrations will be considered if places are still available.

FEES: 20% discount for early bird booking. Bookings before the 28th of May only

There is a 20% discount for 3 or more clinicians attending from the same team (only 1 offer available)

Two day workshop: £400 per person including materials, refreshments

Enquiries: Ashley Rogers, Telephone: 020 3228 8141

Training Coordinator: Stamatoula Voulgari, Senior Systemic Family Psychotherapist

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