Explanation of Self-harming Behaviors that Dalia is Exhibiting

Explanation of Self-harming Behaviors that Dalia is Exhibiting

Walden University

A social worker should be able to properly identify the problems their clients are having. If a can understand the problem then the social worker should be able to have a gateway to understanding the client. The social worker should understand the environment around the client. They should know how their race and ethnicity influences their everyday activities. If you do not understand every aspect of a client then you can inaccurately identify the goals that they need to establish and work towards completing.

Dalia is a 14-year-old biracial adolescent who has been diagnosed with sickle cell anemia with her last episode occurring two years ago (Plummer, Makris, & Brocksen, 2014). Dalia’s family dynamics have changed in the past two years, since her sister started college (Plummer, Makris, & Brocksen, 2014). Dalia’s parents seemed to be focused more on their careers, while she is battling the comparison to her sister by her middle school teachers (Plummer, Makris, & Brocksen, 2014). Dalia has become argumentative with authority figures and tends to have an aggressive attitude with her fellow peers. Her lack of engagement is classes along with her irritable, defensive, truancy, and has sexual behaviors towards males are becoming a problem for others to deal with (Plummer, Makris, & Brocksen, 2014). Dalia has admitted to previous partaking in behaviors with alcohol involvement with her peers even in her home. Dalia’s behavior could also stem from her irregular sleeping habits, which can easily make her agitated, and impulsive (Plummer, Makris, & Brocksen, 2014).

According to Moorey (2010) and Zastrow and Kirst-Ashman (2016), Dalia has exhibited signs of depression including unhappiness, lack of interest, insomnia, low self-esteem, and peer group. According to Zastrow and Kirst-Ashman (2016), Dahlia’s age, gender, sexual behaviors, substance use, lack of support, coping with medical condition, and moodiness are all factors in that fact that she is at high risk of doing self-harm to herself.

Some self-harming behaviors that Dalia is exhibiting are that she seems emotionally disconnected from her parents. She also seems to be invalidated by them when mentioning how things changed when her sister went to college. Dalia also seems to feel invisible to her parents when she had to tell her mom about a tattoo she wasn’t supposed to have just to get attention for a slight moment. Her self-harming behavior is also a part of a coping strategy for her demanding mother who only seems to be worried about her focusing on school.

Two goals for the client to have complete before termination of care would be for the client to have a one on one outing with each one of her parents doing something one another enjoy and sitting down to have dinner together at least once a week. The outings with each parent separately will help Dalia get to know her parents better, while also doing something that they enjoy and cannot spend much time doing anymore. Sitting down at the table together for dinner at least once a week can show that they are making a conscious effort to give Dalia more of their attention. This can in turn cause Dalia not to be so reserved when it comes to her parents.

           According to Moorey (2010), self-harm is defined as nonfatal harm to self without suicidal intentions. Because Dahlia is a youth, family therapy would also be important to resolve the behavior problems that Dahlia is exhibiting. Family therapy is also helpful for the self-harming behavior that Dalia is presenting. This will help the family to establish a better more productive way to communicate with one another. It can also potentially educate her parents on what Dalia needs as far as her developmental needs, so that they can incorporate what they learn into managing her negative behavior. It can also assist them, as a family, with problem solving and conflict resolution skills. Family therapy can ultimately help establish a closer relationship or even just simply establish a foundation for a meaningful relationship between the adolescent and the adults. Her parents participating in this sort of therapy can help Dalia feel more loved by them.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and other interventions have shown to be effective with individuals who self-harm (Moorey, 2010). During sessions when Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is used, Dahlia may also benefit from problem solving skills, healthy coping skills, stress reduction techniques, communication skills, emotional regulation, behavior management to address acting out, and mindfulness (Moorey, 2010). Dalia can also be encouraged to put her aggressiveness towards finding something to do in her spare time that can help take her mind off things. She could invest in some extracurricular activities that can do to be more productive with her time, while her parents are finishing up their workday.

As previously stated, Dahlia is a biracial child. Although, it does not state which parent is which race. Ethnocentrism is when an ethnic group views their group as superior (Zastrow and Kirst-Ashman, 2016). This could potentially affect Dahlia because one parent may treat the other parent a certain kind of way due to the way they view their cultures. However, Dalia could be experiencing a bit of racism within school as well due to some people not being too accepting of biracial children and prejudging them without knowing them. 


Moorey, S. (2010). Managing the unmanageable: Cognitive behaviour therapy for deliberate self-harm. Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 24(2), 135–149. Retrieved from Walden Library


Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen S. M. (Eds.). (2014). Social work case studies: Foundation year. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader].


Zastrow, C. H., & Kirst-Ashman, K. K. (2016). Understanding human behavior and the social environment (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.