Presenter: Dr. Wendy Lader Ph.D., M.Ed.

Wendy Lader, Ph.D., M.Ed., is co-founder and clinical director of the S.A.F.E. (Self Abuse Finally Ends) ALTERNATIVES® Program a national treatment, education and referral center for self-injury.  An internationally recognized expert, Dr. Lader has published and lectured extensively on the subject and is co-author of the book, Bodily Harm:  The Breakthrough Healing Program for Self-Injurers.   Dr. Lader’s full bio in STAFF Section

If you would like to request a lecture, please contact Dr. Lader at:  


In the past decade, self-injury has grown from an obscure psychiatric symptom to a mainstream problem.  Therapists, medical personnel and educators frequently feel unprepared to work with patients or students who engage in self-directed violence.  It is important for these providers to better understand etiology, treatment protocols, and management and utilization of the counter-transference experience.


Lectures are designed for psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, psychiatric nurses and mental health counselors, as well as educators, school counselors and medical and criminal justice personnel who work with this population.  However, presentations can be designed for other focus groups as well.

Lecture Length

Lectures can be provided in a variety of lengths to meet the needs of your organization and audience. Topic and focus of lecture can be custom designed as well.

Sample Full Day Schedule:

Understanding and Treating Those Who Self-Injure:  Once an Obscure Psychiatric Symptom, Now An Alarming Mainstream Problem

  • 9:00-9:30  Show documentary, “Can You See My Pain
  • Power Point Presentation
  • 9:30-9:45  Self-Injury vs. Suicide:  Similarities and Differences
    • Location of Injuries
    • Intent of Client
    • Type of Injury
  • 9:45-10:30  Description and purposes of self-injurious behaviors
    • Analgesic & Palliative Aims
    • Religious Aims
    • Communicative Aims
  • 10:30-11:15  Etiology
    • Socio-cultural including relationship to body art and Eating Disorders
    • Familial
    • Biological
  • 11:15-12:00  Challenging rationales used by clients to maintain the self-injurious behavior
  • Noon-1:00  Lunch
  • Power Point Presentation (Continued)
  • 1:00 – 1:45  Goals of Treatment
    • Attain Congruent Affect
    • For client to learn difference between Thoughts, Feelings, Behaviors
    • For client to be able to tolerate uncomfortable feeling states
    • Mourn the loss of the Ideal Childhood
  • Power Point Presentation (continued)
  • 1:45- 2:30  Specific treatment strategies
    • Use of Treatment Participation Agreements
    • Impulse Control Logs
    • Writing Assignments
    • Use of Temporary Alternatives
  • 2:30-2:45  Break
  • 2:45-3:00  Use of counter-transference and projective identification to maintain empathic stance
    • Use of client therapist vignette
  • 3:00-3:15  Do’s and don’ts when working with self-injurers
    • Use of Cathartic Methods
    • Use of Substitutive Behaviors
  • 3:15-3:30 Use of Medications
    • Medications in Relationship to Diagnoses
    • Efficacy of Various Classes of Medications
  • 3:30:4:00  Discussion / Question and Answer Period

Full Day Objectives:

This workshop will challenge some of the participants’ concepts about self-injurers, traditional treatment methods and counter-transference reactions. Therapeutic strategies and treatment modalities, including the Impulse Control Log, will be presented.  Upon completion of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Explain three meanings and functions of the self-injurious act
  • Describe possible cultural, familial and biological underpinnings of self-injury
  • Describe Four Goals of Treatment
  • Utilize strategies such as Treatment Participation Agreements to maintain the therapeutic alliance.
  • Utilize the impulse control log and writing assignments to help clients differentiate thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
  • Explain why guidelines should be used when clients journal.

Fees & Schedule

For more information on fees and/or the scheduling of a lecture, please contact Dr. Lader at: 

Lecture Reviews:

Rating scale: 1(low) through 5 (High)

  1. Overall Rating: 4.69
  2. Knowledge of speaker in subject matter: 4.94
  3. Overall preparedness: 4.94
  4. Organization of presentation: 4.75
  5. Speaker’s ability to communicate: 4.88
  6. Encouragement of participants to take an active part: 4.75
  7. Value of handout materials: 4.29
  8. Value of subject matter to me: 4.76


“Dr. Lader was very informative. Her presentation was thorough, theoretical, clinical and very effective. Well worth attending”.

“It is always refreshing to meet with an expert. Dr. Lader was confident and well prepared. Most importantly, many applied concepts were presented– with illustrative examples. As always– I am disappointed with the length of the program. I realize we have live with this limitation in this forum– so I appreciate the effort to include as much material is possible”

“It was a wonderful overview of this problem area and encouraged further explorations”.

“Very clear, fully elaborated explanation. Responsive to questions. Very relevant case illustrations”

“High quality program.”

“Very well; excellent, informative presentation.”

“I thought that this presentation was well done. She presented some interesting ideas regarding treatment and society in general, which I found helpful.”

“I thought she was well educated and articulate on the subject”


“Met the objective quite well. Excellent use of video presentation that gave a real sense of the thoughts and feelings of individuals who self-injure.”

“Dr. Lader made an excellent presentation, both in the morning and in the afternoon sessions. I learned new strategies for treating people, especially what not to do.”


“Wendy is very knowledgeable and continues to actually work with patients. That’s important to me”

“Very good presentation with a great deal of helpful information and techniques”

“Dr. Lader was very helpful in answering clinical issues which I encounter in my practice”

“Excellent workshop! Very valuable conference”

Rating Scale:

5=Excellent 4=Good 3=Fair 2=Poor 1=No Comment

  1. Instructor’s knowledge of material: 5.0
  2. Instructor’s presentation of material (clear, organized, etc.): 4.9
  3. Handouts, readings used in class: 4.7
  4. Instructors’ response to questions & concerns: 4.9
  5. Overall rating of training: 4.9


“I like her style of therapy. I am not a therapist, but I found a lot of her suggestions gave me new ideas on dealing with clients in crisis. It also validated me because many of her ideas I have already been using w/clients”

“I had to leave early & feel I missed some good material”

“Very Informative!”

“Presenter was excellent. Very reality based, up front, to the point in getting to own responsibility”

“Absolutely excellent—breadth & depth of info covered was just what I was looking for”

“Well worth it”

“I liked the fact that she explained ways that she would handle certain clients and crisis. It’s easy to teach ways and not show examples; She was very good”

“Very helpful—thanks!”

“Excellent presentation–Very enthusiastic about subject, relaxed with presentation. Did not make you feel she was “lecturing” to you”

“Presenter very knowledgeable & passionate about subject. Presentation was direct and very useful. I will use this in my practice”

“Great personality for teaching. Interesting material”

“This was very helpful and will aid/assist me greatly at work”

Past Presentations

The following is not an inclusive list

  • “Understanding and Working with the Self-Injurer”. Troubled Youth Conference. Snowbird, Utah.  May 10, 2007.
  • “Bodily Harm: Strategied for Treating Those Who Self-Injure”. Iowa Psychological Association. Amana, Iowa.  April 27, 2007.
  • “Understanding and Treating the Self Injurer:Once an Obscure Psychiatric Symptom,Now an Alarming Mainstream Problem”. Illinois Mental Health Counselors Association. Alton, Illinois.  April 13, 2007.
  • “Treatment Strategies for Working with Self-Injurious Behaviors”. United HealthCare. Houston, Texas.  June 16th and 17th, 2005.
  • “Understanding and Working with the Self-Injuring Student”. American College Health Association. San Diego, California.  June 4, 2005.
  • “Understanding and Treating the Self-Injuring Client”. Midland County Child Protection Council. Midland, Michigan.  April 22, 2005.
  • “Understanding and Treating the Self-Injuring Client”. Nashville Psychotherapy Institute. Nashville, Tennessee.  April 16, 2005.
  • “Understanding and Working with the Self-Injurer”. Eastern Conference on Child Sexual Abuse. Washington, D.C.  April 6, 2005.
  • “Self-Injury: Characteristics, Causes and Coping Strategies”. Mental Health Advisory Council. San Antonio, Texas.  March 5, 2005.
  • “Understanding and Working With the Self-Injurer”. 50th Anniversary Minnesota Juvenile Officer’s Association. Duluth, Minnesota.  February 2, 2005.
  • “Understanding the Self-Injurious Client”. Full Day Institute. Annual Midwest Conference on Child Sexual Abuse. Middleton, Wisconsin.  October 20, 2004.
  • “Understanding and Working With the Self-Injurer”. 12th Annual West Virginia Children’s Justice Task Force Conference. Morgantown, October 13 and Charleston, WV, October 14, 2004.
  • “Understanding the Self-Injurer”. The Illinois Academy of Family Physicians Medicine Today Program.  Edward Hospital.  Naperville, Illinois.  October 6, 2004.
  • “Understanding and Treating the Self-Injurious Client”. Michigan Network for Youth and Families. Lansing, Michigan.  September 23, 2004.
  • “The Body Paradox”. 22nd Annual Conference. Voices in Action: A Global Vision, Many Roads, Many Cultures”. Minneapolis, Minnesota.  July 15, 2004.
  • “Understanding and Treating the Self-Injurious Client” Professional Lecture Series, Idaho State University. Coeur d’Alene. April 22, Boise.  April 23, Pocatello, April 24, 2004.
  • “Working with the Self-Injurious Student”.  FL Chamberlain School.  Middleboro, Massachusetts.  February 4-5, 2004.
  • “Understanding and Treating the Self-Injurious Client”.  Professional Seminar Presentation.  Department of Psychiatry, Children’s Memorial Hospital.  Chicago, Illinois.  July 31, 2003.
  • Understanding and Treating the Self-Injurious Client”.  Ithaca, New York March 13, 2003.
  • “Understanding and Working With the Self-Injurious Student”. 10th Annual Illinois Association of Student Assistance Professionals Conference. Springfield, Illinois. February 21, 2003.
  • “S.A.F.E. Alternatives:  A Therapeutic Approach to Self-Injury”. Lone Star IAPSRS Annual Conference: Renewing a Beautiful Mind Through Recovery and Rehabilitation. Dallas, Texas.  January 29, 2003.
  • “From the Cutting Edge: Current Therapeutic Trends in Self-Injury”. YWCA of Greater Austin 2002 Professional Speakers Series. Austin, Texas.  November 9, 2002.
  • “Understanding the Self-Injurious Client”.  18th Annual Midwest Conference On Child Sexual Abuse. Middleton, Wisconsin.  October 10, 2002.
  • “Treating the Self-Injurious Client”. 18th Annual Midwest Conference on Child Sexual Abuse. Middleton, Wisconsin.  October, 10, 2002.
  • “Understanding Self-Harm: Identification, Assessment, Treatment and Relapse Prevention”.  The Family and Children’s Society Professional Conference Series. Owego, N.Y.  September 13, 2002.
  • “Working With Survivors of Sexual Abuse Who Self-Injure”.  Seminar Presentation. YWCA DuPage District’s Fall Training:  Peripheral Issues in the Treatment of Sexual Abuse.  Glen Ellyn, Illinois.  October 25, 2001.
  • “The Body Paradox:  Understanding the True vs. the False Self”.  Keynote Address. 50th Anniversary Nassau County Psychological Association Annual Conference. Garden City, N.Y.  October 19, 2001.
  • “The Do’s and Don’ts in the Treatment of the Self-Injurious Client:  50th Anniversary Nassau County Psychological Association Annual Conference”.  Garden City, N.Y. October 19, 2001.
  • Understanding Self-Harm”.  A Conference on Youth Subcultures in Dane County: Current Issues and Trends.  Sponsored by the Dane County Youth Gang Prevention Task Force.  Madison, Wisconsin.  October 10, 2001.
  • “Understanding and Treating the Self-Injurious Client”. Training Seminar.  University of Alabama School of Social Work and The College of Continuing Studies 13th Annual Social Work Seminar Series.  Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  September 20, 2001.
  • “Understanding and Treating Self-Injury”. Special Symposium:  Pre-Conference Workshop.  34th Annual Conference in conjunction with the 11th Annual AAS Healing After Suicide Conference.  Mind, Body & Soul:  Three Dimensions of Suicide. Atlanta, Georgian. April 18, 2001.
  • Understanding and Treating the Self-Injurious Client”.  Pederson-Krag Center. Huntington, N.Y. November 21, 2000.
  • “Understanding and Treating the Self-Injurious Client”. ICASA:  Conference on Rape and Rape Prevention.  Oak Lawn, Illinois.  October, 3, 2000.
  • “Can You See My Pain”:  Guest presenter at opening screening of PBS Wisconsin documentary on Self- Injury. Greenbay, Wisconsin. September 18, 2000
  • “Adolescent Self-Injury: Identification, Assessment, Treatment and Relapse Prevention Strategies”.  American Psychological Association Annual Conference.  Boston. August 23, 1999.
  • “Do’s and Don’ts in Treatment of Self-Injurious Clients”.  YWCA Second Annual Sexual Assault Conference:  Transforming Lives Through Knowledge and Healing. Chicago. April 9, 1999.
  • “Understanding and Treating the Self-Injurer”.  Idaho State University. Boise and Idaho Falls.  January 22 & 23, 1999.
  • “Understanding and Treating Self-Injury”.  Innovative Treatment Program Presentation. American Psychiatric Association 50th Institute on Psychiatric Services.  Los Angeles. October 3, 1998.
  • “Challenge of the Self-Injurious Patient”.  St. Anthony’s Psychiatric Center. St. Louis. January 22, 1993.
  • “The Challenge of the Self-Injurious Patient”.  University of Illinois College of Medicine. Peoria.  April 30, 1993.
  • “Anxiety and Personality Disorders”.  DuPage County Mental Health Annual Conference.  November 15, 1990.
  • “An Innovative Treatment Approach to Self-Injury”.  Illinois Psychological Association. Spring Conference entitled “Current Concepts in Suicidal and Injurious Behaviors”. Co-sponsored by Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, University of Illinois Medical College. Peoria. May 18, 1990.
  • “Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder”.  Grand Rounds.  Loyola Medical Center.  February 9,1989.
  • An Innovative Approach to the Treatment of Self Injury”.  NASW Annual Conference. San Francisco.  September 12, 1989.
  • “Feminist Perspectives on the Treatment of Self-Injury”.  Hartgrove Hospital’s Professional Conference Series.  Westin Hotel.  Chicago.  June 2, 1989.
  • “Treatment of Self-Injurers”.  Northwestern University Women’s Center.  April 5, 1989.
  • “Program Development and Treatment Issues In Working With Self-Injurers”. Conference on Borderline Personality Disorder.  Sponsored by ANNOKA Regional Treatment Center and the University of Minnesota.  Plymouth, Minnesota.  September 23, 1988.
  • “An Innovative Program for the Treatment of Self-Injury”. Paper Presentation, NAPPH. Phoenix, Arizona.  February, 1988.