Volume 32, Number 4, October 2010
1. Editorial: Trustworthiness, Credibility, and Soundness: A Vision for Research in the Journal of Mental Health Counseling
Rachel M. Hoffman
It is a privilege to have been named the new associate editor of research for the
Journal of Mental Health Counseling (JMHC), and an honor to have the opportunity
to work with my esteemed colleagues Dr. James Rogers and Dr. Heather
TrepaI. As I transition into my new role, I would also like to acknowledge the
dedicated work of my predecessor, Dr. Mercedes Schneider.
2. Introduction to the Special Section on Nonsuicidal Self- Injury (NSSI)
Heather C. Trepal
We are pleased to present this special section of the Journal of Mental Health
Counseling on the topic of nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI). Recent research suggests
that NSSI is common, particularly among adolescents (Nock & Prinstein,
2005) and college students (Whitlock, Eckenrode, & Silverman, 2006).
Although over the past decade research on NSSI in both clinical and nonclinical
populations has progressed, mental health counselors continue to search for
best practices in diagnosing and treating clients who self-injure.
3. Features of Psychopathology in Self-Injuring Female College Students (Pages 290-308)
Patrick L. Kerr; Jennifer J. Muehlenkamp
Although research on nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) is accumulating, there is as yet little data on psychopathological
features associated with NSSI in nonclinical samples. College students may be particularly
susceptible to engaging in NSSI and NSSI may be phenomenologically and etiologically different
for males and females. This archival study examined differences between college student women with (n
= 34) and without (n = 32) a history of NSSI in scores on the clinical scales and subscales of the
Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI). Multivariate analyses revealed significantly higher levels of
depression, anxiety, borderline personality features, suicidality, and certain psychotic features in selfinjurers.
Follow-up analysis identified four symptom themes associated with NSSI across diagnostic categories:
emotional distress, physiological distress, cognitive distortion, and interpersonal difficulties.
This study confirms previous findings of higher levels of affective symptoms in self-injurers. Unique findings
of this study included significantly higher scores for self-injurers on the PAI Thought Disorder,
Psychotic Experiences, and Hypervigilance subscales. This suggests a need to expand the conceptualization
of the clinical correlates of NSSI to encompass a broader array of symptomatology. Implications
for clinical practice are discussed.
4. Self-Reported Experience of Self-Injurious Behavior in College Students (Pages 309-323)
Regina Kakhnovets; Hannah L. Young; Amanda Lienau Purnell; Edward Huebner; Christa Bishop
The purpose of this study was to gain firsthand qualitative information about the experience of self-injurious
behavior (SIB) by asking the 79 participants to describe their experiences before, during, and after
SIB. Students with a history of SIB were separated into two groups: those students who self-injured only
once and those who had harmed themselves multiple times. The most common experiences for both
groups directly before SIB were feeling depressed, angry, and out of control, but the two groups reported
different experiences during and after SIB.
5. Nonsuicidal Self-injury: Examining the Relationship Between Diagnosis and Gender (Pages 324-341)
Amanda C. Healey; Heather C. Trepal; Kelly Emelianchik-Key
This study examined the perceptions of counselors in training concerning nonsuicidal self-injurious
behaviors (NSSI), diagnosis, and the influence of gender-normative expectations on clinical decision
making. Participants were asked to respond to a set of questions after reading a randomly assigned case
study. The purpose was to determine the process through which counseling professionals diagnosed adolescents
who self-injure and whether the sex of the client influenced the decision. Cases presented were
identical except that the sex of the client was altered. It appears that societal expectations associated
with biological sex may influence counselor diagnostic decisions at the training level. Implications for
diagnosis, counselor training, and future research are presented.
6. Adolescent Nonsuicidal Self-Injury: Minimizing Client and Counselor Risk and Enhancing Client Care (Pages 342-353)
Rachel M. Hoffman; Victoria E. Kress
In this article, the authors present risk management considerations of which mental health counselors
should be aware when counseling adolescents who engage in nonsuicidal self-injury. They address considerations
related to self-injury and suicide, assessment and evaluation, countertransference, social
contagion, and body privacy and make recommendations to minimize client and counselor risk while
enhancing client care.
7. Matching Animal-Assisted Therapy Techniques and Intentions with Counseling Guiding Theories (Pages 354-374)
Cynthia K. Chandler; Torey L. Portrie-Bethke; Casey A. Barrio Minton; Delini M. Fernando; Dana M. O’Callaghan
Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) interventions are often used in mental health practice, yet there are few
studies to assist mental health counselors in integrating AAT practice with theoretical foundations. The
authors draw upon the literature on AAT intentions and techniques to illustrate how these practices are
consistent with a variety of theoretical orientations. Case illustrations are provided.