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Season 3 | Episode 38

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Season 3 | Episode 38

Self-Harm OCD vs. Nonsuicidal Self-Injury

Jun 30, 2023

with Nathan Peterson

Self-Harm OCD vs. Nonsuicidal Self-Injurywith Nathan Peterson
00:00 / 01:04

Approximately 1-4% of people throughout the world experience obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Individuals with OCD are more likely than those without OCD to engage in nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI), and recent research has shown that, among those who self-injure, having a diagnosis of OCD predicts more severe self-injury.

In this episode, licensed clinical social worker and OCD expert Nathan Peterson explains how he differentiates nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) from Self-Harm OCD, which is just one of many subtypes of OCD and one in which a person experiences intrusive thoughts or mental images of violence toward oneself. He then walks us through how he uses Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) for Self-Harm OCD in therapy. 

Learn more about Nathan and his therapy practice OCD and Anxiety Counseling here. He has nearly 100k subscribers on YouTube (@ocdandanxiety) where his videos receive thousands and thousands of views. You can also follow him on Instagram (@ocdandanxietyonline), Twitter (@ocdandanxiety1), and Facebook.  Click here to take his online "Do I Have Harm OCD? Test." Below are additional resources about OCD and/or NSSI:

  1. Browning, M. E., Lloyd-Richardson, E. E., Schneider, R. L., Faro, A. L., Muehlenkamp, J. J., & Claudio-Hernandez, A. (2022). Obsessive compulsive disorder and co-occurring nonsuicidal self-injury: Evidence-based treatments and future research directions. The Behavior Therapist, 45(6), 199-208.

  2. International OCD Foundation at

To learn more about how medication can help address OCD (most often in tandem with ERP but not discussed in this episode), click here

Follow Dr. Westers on Instagram and Twitter (@DocWesters). To join ISSS, visit and follow ISSS on Facebook and Twitter (@ITripleS).

The Psychology of Self-Injury podcast has been rated #5 by Feedspot in their "20 Best Clinical Psychology Podcasts" and also featured in Audible's "Best Mental Health Podcasts to Defy Stigma and Begin to Heal."

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