Self- harm worries

I am looking in to becoming a catholic and I have an addiction to self-harm:o, which I have had since I was 12:(, I wondered what the catholic church teaches about this? I am guessing that it is a sin and I wondered will this have any effect on me becoming catholic? I will appreciate any useful advice thank you.


I would recommend talking to your local priest, but I would be pretty surprised if he tells you that this would keep you from the Church, assuming that you recognize that it’s a bad thing and are trying to fight it. He may even have some recommendations to help you fight it.

Self-harm is objectively wrong, yes, but addiction lessens our culpability, our “guilt,” so to speak, somewhat. (In order for an action to be a mortal sin there must be grave matter, which I believe self-harm to be, full knowledge, and full consent of will - you have to do a bad thing knowing that it’s bad and do it of your own volition. Addiction lessens the consent of will part.)

Good luck and hope things work out for you. We’d love to have you in the Church.

Hail Mary,
Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of death

I can offer no religious guidance (please ask a priest!), but I am a counselor who works with adolescents so I’m no stranger to self-harm, personal experiences with included.

I would seek counseling. You may do well with someone who is DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) trained. Two of the four features of the intervention are emotion regulation and distress tolerance, in short, learning to “sit with” the discomforts. It’s hard but well-worth. Again, I speak with experience and that is why I chose to be trained in this treatment.

There are some great books and internet sources on DBT.

I wish you all the best! Please let us know how things are going. Honestly, learning about the Catholic Church and seeking comfort in Her has been just an absolute boon to me in my own mental health struggles.



I would second this. DBT can be helpful, even though it’s a lot of work. And a fun fact: DBT was created by a Catholic :slight_smile:

Thanks I have had countcelling and because I have other issues this tends to get forgotten about unless I do something which needs attending to:o but I have had medication and been told about something called CBT congnitive behaviouaral thearpy, I have never heard of the thearpy you mentioned so thanks for that information, and yes I will try to keep you imformed, am new here so am still a bit confused as to how things work but I will try let you know.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit