San Juan Capestrano Hospital offers a comprehensive, leading treatment program for self-harm in San Juan and other locations throughout Puerto Rico. We provide a full continuum of care including detox, inpatient, and outpatient services for adolescents, adults and seniors.

Self-Harm Treatment

Learn more about self-harm treatment at San Juan Capestrano Hospital in Puerto Rico

When an individual purposely inflicts some form of pain or injury onto him or herself, it is known as self-harm. Also referred to as self-mutilation or self-injury, such behaviors can include cutting, burning, biting, scratching, picking at one’s skin, or hitting oneself. Some people who engage in self-harm may also purposely break their own bones or drink harmful substances, such as bleach and detergent. Commonly misperceived as attempts at suicide, the participation in self-harming behaviors is typically done so as a means of finding relief from inner emotional turmoil that an individual does not know how else to manage. Although in the majority of cases people who self-harm are not actually trying to end their own lives, the behaviors must be addressed as the result of continuation in such actions can be detrimental. The staff at San Juan Capestrano Hospital understand the sensitive nature that encompasses the mindset of those who self-harm and has therefore designed specialized programming that is specifically tailored to address the needs of those who have become trapped in the grips of self-mutilation.

San Juan Capestrano Hospital is a 172-bed, short-stay private psychiatric hospital located in Metropolitan San Juan, Puerto Rico. Since opening in 1988, we have prided ourselves on being a leader in offering superior treatment for individuals who are suffering from any number of behavioral and emotional concerns, as well as those who are plagued by chemical dependency issues. By offering programming options for adolescents, adults, and senior adults, San Juan Capestrano Hospital is able to afford immediate, acute care that is individualized to meet the unique needs of each patient with whom we work. Our staff consists of numerous mental health professionals, as well as addiction specialists and experienced medical personnel, who are able to facilitate services that emphasize the strengths that our patients possess, while understanding the sensitivity of the concerns that they face. We are proud of our ability to provide the highest quality of individualized care for individuals who self-harm that is available in Puerto Rico through innovative and distinctive treatment options that are based on integrity, respect, and compassionate care. We remain steadfast in our commitment to afford our patients with a safe and nurturing environment that will promote recovery and allow each individual to return to his or her respective community with an overall improved sense of emotional and physical wellbeing.

If you or a loved one is struggling with the devastating compulsion to self-injure, look no further than San Juan Capestrano Hospital.

How to Help a Loved One

Helping a loved one get treatment for self-harm

Due to the fact that the act of self-mutilating is typically done in private, it can be difficult to know when a family member or loved one is partaking in such behaviors. However, there are some warning signs that may be present that could indicate that someone is purposely harming him or herself. Examples of such warning signs can include:

  • Presence of unexplained cuts, scrapes, scratches, bruises, or burn marks
  • Occurrence of frequent “accidents”
  • Wearing clothes that are inappropriate to the weather in an attempt to hide injuries or scars (such as wearing long-sleeved shirts or long pants despite being warm outside)
  • No longer showing interest in things one once enjoyed
  • Isolating oneself from friends and family
  • Drop in occupational or academic performance
  • Chronic absences from work or school
  • Low self-esteem
  • Making repeated, self-defeating statements

If you have noticed the presence of any of these changes in behavior and/or demeanor in your loved one, it is imperative that you step in and help him or her get the help he or she desperately needs. In many cases, these behaviors can become addictive and those participating in them can find it difficult to stop without professional help. It is important that you are prepared for your loved one to initially deny that he or she is engaging in such behaviors, but remain calm and nonjudgmental and provide him or her with specific examples of things that are causing you concern. Do no lecture your loved one, but instead remain unconditionally supportive. Research possible treatment options and work with your loved one in finding one that will best meet his or her specific needs. Recognize that, even once treatment has begun, the road to full recovery can be a long one. Do not give up on your loved one.

Why Consider Treatment

Why consider treatment for self-harm at San Juan Capestrano Hospital in Puerto Rico

Once someone has started to use self-injury as a way to cope with negative emotions, it can be extremely difficult for him or her to stop. The relief that partaking in these behaviors provides individuals with far exceeds the negative ramifications that they rationally know the behaviors can cause. However, the relief that self-mutilation provides is only temporary and, in order for people to find a true sense of healing, the underlying causes for why the behaviors were initiated must be addressed.

Inpatient treatment programs can be one of the best ways for people who engage in chronic self-harm to receive the comprehensive and thorough treatment that they need. By entering into an inpatient setting, these individuals are, first and foremost, entering into a safe and secure environment where they are monitored 24/7, protecting them from having access to any tools that they could potentially use to inflict injury onto themselves. The myriad of therapeutic interventions that are implemented throughout the course of an inpatient treatment program will also help individuals uncover the underlying reason for why they feel the need to engage in such detrimental behaviors. By exploring their inner emotional turmoil, while also developing the skills needed to cope with negative emotions in a healthy manner, inpatient treatment programs can help individuals overcome their desire to self-harm and regain control of their lives.

Types of Treatment

Types of self-harm treatment offered at San Juan Capestrano Hospital in Puerto Rico

At San Juan Capestrano Hospital, we wholeheartedly believe in the notion that each patient should have individualized treatment that meets his or her every need. For this reason, we afford each patient who comes to us struggling with the compulsion to self-harm with individually tailored plans for treatment that are distinct to the adolescents, adults, and senior adults who come to us for mental health services. These plans detail the specific courses of treatment that patients will engage in and include aftercare recommendations that are devised by our staff so that every patient experiences a full continuum of care. The planning of treatment begins during the time of assessment and can be altered should additional concerns arise during the course of treatment at our hospital.

In order to meet the varying needs of people who find the need to engage in self-harming behaviors, as well as the possible co-occurring issue of chemical dependency, San Juan Capestrano Hospital is pleased to provide various levels of care and specialized programming options. Our hospital features separate adult and adolescent inpatient programs that treat a myriad of mental health conditions, including those of which self-injury is often symptomatic. The level of care most appropriate for a patient is decided upon during the initial psychiatric evaluation, wherein a patient’s needs are assessed, a physical examination is conducted, and a mental status assessment is administered in order to determine which program will produce the most favorable treatment outcomes for any given patient.

These methods are rooted in evidence-based principles and techniques, including cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, and the 12-step model for recovery for those individuals who are struggling with substance abuse concerns in addition to the pervasive desire to harm themselves. The following methods for care are the ones primarily used at San Juan Capestrano Hospital and are implemented so that patients can find relief from the concerns that arise as a result of self-injurious acts:

Medical detoxification: For those that are battling a chemical dependency problem in addition to the ongoing desire to self-harm, San Juan Capestrano Hospital offers medically supervised detoxification services that are aimed at helping adults, aged 18 and older, withdraw from substances in the most effective and safest manner possible. These services are monitored by medical professionals who have experience in making the process of withdrawal as comfortable as can be so that patients can partake in therapeutic interventions with addiction specialists who can help springboard them towards lasting healing and a full recovery from addiction.

Medication management: In some cases, those who are engaging in self-harming behaviors may find relief from distressing symptoms through the use of medications such as antidepressants or antianxiety agents. On a case-by-case basis, our qualified psychiatrists will determine each patient’s individual needs for medication, prescribe the appropriate medications, and will then monitor the therapeutic effectiveness of those medications.

Individual therapy: All patients who take part in our inpatient programming for the presence of self-harming behaviors engage in individual therapy sessions four times per week. Individual therapy is a treatment method that is designed to provide patients with an opportunity to process emotions and thoughts on a one-to-one basis with a member of our staff. This can also be a time for individuals to discuss any concerns that they may have, work through maladaptive thought patterns, and track treatment goals.

Group therapy: San Juan Capestrano Hospital offers a number of group therapy opportunities for patients who self-injure that offers them the opportunity to find support in one another and hone skills that have been learned. Such sessions can be especially beneficial for individuals who are struggling with the distressing compulsion to self-mutilate, as they can provide them with the sense of comfort that comes with knowing that they are not alone in their struggles. Some of the topics covered in these groups include techniques for managing stress, improving communication, learning and adapting healthy coping methods, bettering self-esteem, dealing with grief and loss, and persevering through trauma. These groups are offered several times per week to maximize the benefits of treatment offered in a group setting.    

Family therapy: Family therapy is offered as a method of treatment during inpatient programming so that our patients can receive ample support from the people who care for them most. During family therapy sessions, patients and their loved ones can work through conflicts and improve communication so as to heal and better familial relationships through the implementation of skills that can service a family unit well for a lifetime. For the family members of patients who struggle with engaging in self-harming behaviors, these sessions can also serve as a time for gaining education about the reasons behind why individuals turn to self-harm as a means of coping, while also learning ways in which they can best help and support their loved one.

We also include a number of other therapeutic interventions as a way to wholly treat the individuals who come to our hospital for care. Especially for those who are plagued by the need to self-injure and require additional support and/or resources, we supply the following interventions and group topics as part of our treatment; these interventions have proven effectiveness in helping our patients learn to manage stress and turmoil while gaining the tools needed to successfully manage the debilitating symptoms of their mental health condition while also addressing other concerns:   

  • Relaxation techniques
  • Recreational therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Canine therapy
  • Pilates
  • Infection control education
  • Psychoeducation
  • Crisis Management
  • Anger management
  • Medical issues management
  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Marijuana Anonymous

Continuing Care

Continuing care and levels of treatment for self-harm

At San Juan Capestrano Hospital, we strive to provide the most comprehensive services that embody the highest quality of care possible for individuals who are struggling to overcome their need to participate in self-mutilation. To fulfill this goal, we begin discharge planning at the time of admissions and feature a number of continuing care options at varying levels of treatment so that each and every one of our patient’s needs can be treated once a higher level of care is no longer required.

San Juan Capestrano Hospital offers partial hospitalization programs for both adolescents and adults. The adolescent program is catered to youth between the ages of 13 and 17 years old and our adult program is designed for those aged 18 and older who are struggling with mental health concerns such as those of which self-harm is commonly symptomatic.

Our hospital also features an adult substance abuse intensive outpatient program for individuals aged 18 and older who are battling the demon of addiction in addition to the compulsion to self-harm. This program is designed to continue the recovery process and help patients maintain sobriety after completing inpatient services.

Lastly, San Juan Capestrano Hospital provides outpatient services at eleven different locations on the island, including San Juan, Carolina, Bayamón, Hatillo, Mayagüez, Caguas, Humanao, Manatí, Condado, Ponce, and Guaynabo. Outpatient care allows patients to process feelings and thoughts with a mental health professional on a weekly basis.

Whatever your mental healthcare needs, the staff at San Juan Capestrano Hospital is devoted to helping those who are entrusted into our care overcome mental health issues or substance abuse concerns. We will put forth every effort to ensure that healing and lasting recovery from the need to participate in self-mutilation is successfully achieved.

My severe depression had taken over my life. I’m so thankful for San Juan Capestrano Hospital for giving me the strength to start living my life again to the fullest.

– Luis S.