Self mutilation always indicates the presence of a deeper issue. Here are some common reasons it happens

They need a way to outwardly express inner pain – Some teens carry enormous amounts of emotional hurt inside which they are often  unable to articulate. This then is their way of being able to outwardly identify with their inner pain.

They feel nothing, and pain makes them feel alive – To an emotionally disconnected teen he often feels he doesn’t exist. Because he can’t feel he cuts. Pain is better than feeling numb.

They feel they deserve to be punished – If an adolescent feels bad or he has done something he should be punished for he may hurt his body in a symbolic attempt to receive punishment. They may be reenacting some trauma or abuse.

They want to replace bad feelings with good – There is a theory that the act of self mutilation releases endorphins which create a sense of wellbeing, the end result being they are receiving a sort of self soothing by doing this

They want to connect with peers – Some teens lack a cohesive identity and so they see the cutting and burning as a way of connecting with others, those who might be in rebellion with their parents.

Talk to your teen and try to figure out any pattern –  Sit down and say “I know you are cutting yourself, I am trying to learn about this so I can help you, and I am not mad at you. But I am serious that we will deal with this. Don’t settle for the “I don’t know” Insist that she talk about what might trigger it.

Help your teen identify the underlying problem – If you can see the pattern help your teen to understand it. You may need the help of a therapist.