S.A.F.E. Focus ®

Self-injury is a choice.
There is only pain, not relief, in self-injury. Self-injury negatively affects all portions of a person’s life—physical, mental, emotional, and social. There is no compromise with self-injury. The goal of treatment is complete abstinence.


Would you like to start a self-help group for Self Injury?

S.A.F.E. Focus® is a voluntary support group that utilizes guidelines developed by the S.A.F.E. ALTERNATIVES® Program. This support group focuses on identifying, verbalizing, and tolerating feelings, rather than on underlying issues. As participants begin to engage in this work, they may recognize similar, if not identical, behaviors in fellow group members. Such recognition may be uncomfortable, yet it is highly beneficial because awareness is the first step towards recovery. Additional emphasis is placed on group interaction by using verbal communication and developing interpersonal skills. Participants will learn to take in and give constructive feedback. The importance of healthy risk-taking will be stressed in order to provide the participant with an opportunity to develop new coping skills in place of self-injury.

S.A.F.E. Focus® strongly recommends that each group member be simultaneously engaged in individual therapy for the duration of the group sessions. S.A.F.E. Focus® is not a replacement for “one on one” psychotherapy, it is a support group. 

The purpose of S.A.F.E. ALTERNATIVES® S.A.F.E. Focus® is to provide a structured group for those who self-injure and desire to change that behavior. Exercises and assignments, focusing on basic principles of the S.A.F.E. ALTERNATIVES® philosophy, will help participants identify and express their feelings appropriately and to decrease or eliminate the impulses to self-injure. This program meets weekly for 12 weeks, 2 hours per week (participants may attend additional 12-week sessions with approval from the group facilitator).


S.A.F.E. Focus® – a S.A.F.E. ALTERNATIVES® Program

S.A.F.E. ALTERNATIVES® Philosophy:

  • There is only pain, not relief, with self-injury. Self-injury negatively affects all aspects of a person’s life: physical, mental, emotional, and social.
  • There is no compromise with self-injury. The goal is complete abstinence.
  • Self-injury is a choice, and therefore each person is capable of making different and better choices.
  • Because injuring is a choice…only the one who injures can keep themselves safe.

S.A.F.E. Focus® Group Goals:

  1. To increase the awareness of destructive behaviors
  2. To increase the awareness of the consequences of destructive behaviors
  3. To increase the awareness of feelings
  4. To learn to identify feelings
  5. To learn to tolerate feelings
  6. To learn constructive techniques to verbalize and process feelings
  7. To apply these constructive coping techniques to daily living


Would you like to start a self-help group for Self Injury?

S.A.F.E. Focus® Group Facilitator:

Anyone who organizes a group automatically becomes the facilitator.  It is helpful if the facilitator has group or leadership experience and may be in recovery from self-injury. The Leader Manual contains a detailed explanation for all groups, exercises, and assignments. The facilitator’s first task is to recruit a minimum of four members for the group using the assessment in the manual as a guide.  From that number, the facilitator can find a volunteer to appoint to the position of treasurer.  Additionally, it is the facilitator’s responsibility to call the meeting to order, read any announcements, guide the direction of the group, oversee the “wrap up” process and make S.A.F.E. ALTERNATIVES® material available to the group members.

Purchasing the Leader Manual entitles the bearer to list their group on our website for one year.  You may renew your listing each year for a nominal fee.

S.A.F.E. Focus® Group *Members:

Self-injurious behavior may have been your favored way to quickly, yet temporarily, block unmanageable feelings.  Self-injury will not eliminate the underlying troubling issues. Self-injury will, however, leave scars and loss of trust.  S.A.F.E. Focus® will not replace the “quick fix” or rush often experienced when engaging in self-injury, but will provide lifelong coping tools for achieving a happier and healthier life.  Members will be responsible for signing and following the group guidelines, participating fully in group and completing group assignments and exercises.  Members may eventually act as sponsors for new members. Participant manuals will serve as a workbook throughout the 12 weeks of group, they include exercises, assignments, logs and other useful tools.

* Prospective members will be interviewed by the group facilitator to determine appropriateness for the group.  (Clients who are acutely suicidal, homicidal, or have a primary chemical dependency or an eating disorder, would not be appropriate for S.A.F.E. Focus®).

To purchase Leader and Participant Manuals please visit our store.