non-suicidal self-injury, sexual minority youth, treatment, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy for Adolescents


Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) among sexual minority youth (SMY) is a problem that is growing in attention yet is understudied and requires an informed response from therapists who engage in clinical work with youth. This paper proposes a unique model of treatment for working with SMY who engage in NSSI, accounting for proximal, distal, and systemic factors that influence the etiology of NSSI. This model is based on a review of two bodies of clinical literature: (a) treating adolescent NSSI and (b) working with SMY and their families. As an etiological theory of self-harm, Nock (2009) is applied to SMY, factoring in the unique stressors experienced by this group that affect intervention. Reviewed treatment approaches include Dialectical Behavioral Therapy for Adolescents (DBT-A) and narrative family therapy. Treatment guidelines are conceptualized and outlined to aid therapists in providing affirmative and informed therapeutic services. While few, if any articles have studied treatment for SMY who engage in NSSI, this article contributes to the literature by proposing culturally competent interventions.

Original Publication Citation

*Smithee, L. C., *Sumner, B. W., & Bean, R. A. (2018). Non-suicidal self-injury among sexual minority youth: An etiological and treatment overview. Children and Youth Services Review, 96, 212-219.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Children and Youth Services Review




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor