The Self-Injury Institute (formerly known as Kahn Institute for Self-Injury) was launched in the summer of 2013 in the heart of Los Angeles, California. It is the brainchild of self-injury expert, Angela Caldwell, a marriage and family therapist who has been working with this population for the past decade. It is devoted to the study and treatment of self-injury and champions a family systems approach to psychotherapy.
The base philosophy underlying all branches of the institute is essentially an answer to the problem of widespread treatment failures with self-injurers. For far too long, the models and approaches typically used with this group have left self-injurers and their loved ones with little, if any, real results. Self-injurers are often misunderstood as suicidal or misdiagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Treatment plans designed for that type of suffering are then applied to self-injurers who do not have those problems, and as you may guess, treatment typically fails.
What is forgotten by these failing treatments is the family. Plain and simple. The cycle usually goes something like this: There is something going wrong and/or unaddressed in a family. Some unspoken family rule states that no one can talk about it. One member can’t stand it and gets all filled up with intense emotion. Because the family has tacitly agreed not to express any emotion related to this, the only place left to “vent” the emotion is that person’s own body.
At SII, we base our treatment, research, and training on this understanding. We use an approach designed by Angela Caldwell that includes the family environment as part of what needs to change. We do not see self-injury as the problem, but rather as the only logical venting of a completely separate family problem. Hence, we work with the families of the self-injurer to help them see what they might be missing and what might need fixing. Families that have “graduated” from this kind of therapy are amazed at what kind of results can be achieved just from being willing, open, and honest with one another in the safety of a therapist’s office. Our clients feel heard and understood, better able to handle problems with new tools, and more optimistic about the future.
Founder and Executive Director
Angela Caldwell, founder and executive director of SII, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles, California (#45163). Angela has been working with the self-injury population since her early days as a trainee, and now devotes most of her professional energy toward treating these individuals and families, as well as training other therapists who work with self-injury. She has given lectures on her approach to large audiences at national conferences as well as small groups at public libraries. Angela is a graduate of the University of Southern California and Pepperdine University, where she graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Clinical Psychology. She serves on the Board of Directors of AAMFT-CA, and is adjunct faculty at Antioch University Los Angeles and California State University Northridge.
To set up a consultation with Angela, send an email to email@example.com.
Clinical Director, Therapist Intern
Jessica Tang is a marriage and family therapist registered intern (#85523) who has extensive experience with young children and families, which includes working in early childhood education as a toddler and preschool teacher, in special education as a behavioral interventionist and supervisor, and in early intervention as a child development specialist and program coordinator. She began her clinical training at Child Development Institute in Woodland Hills, California by providing primarily child mental health and parent training as well as individual, couple, and family therapy using humanistic, relationship-based methods. Jessica earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Science in Counseling with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy at California State University, Northridge. Jessica became a Fellow of SII in October 2015. Jessica is supervised by Angela Kahn (MFC45163).
Jessica is responsible for all intakes at SII. To set up an intake appointment, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
April Kujawa, a licensed marriage and family therapist (#83964), is a graduate of Antioch University in Los Angeles where she earned her Masters degree in clinical psychology. April completed most of her training working with early childhood, parenting, and special needs families all over the world. She helps families work through behavioral issues and opens lines of communication between family members by focusing on obstacles that block relationship development. April is a specialist in self-injury and became a Fellow of SII in 2013.
Brad Horne, a marriage and family therapist registered intern (#66904), has been working with self-harming individuals and families since the early days of his training. He holds a Masters degree from Antioch University in Los Angeles in clinical psychology and a Bachelors degree from Colorado State University. Brad spends a great deal of his time speaking to parents, schools, agencies and other entities about self-harm and is devoted to creating a community that more accurately understands the nature of self-harm and what kind of help is most needed. Brad became a SII Fellow in 2013. Brad is supervised by Ben Caldwell, PsyD (MFC42723).
If you’d like to receive consultation about potential speaking engagements, Brad can be reached at email@example.com.
Benjamin E. Caldwell is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles, California (MFC42723). Ben’s experience with specialized clinical therapy with couples has proved invaluable to the work of KISI. Ben focuses his work on couple issues that are likely contributing to family distress, and works with partners to build effective communication and problem-solving skills. He is a graduate of Hastings College, where he studied psychology at the undergraduate level. He received both his masters and doctoral degrees from Alliant International University in San Diego. Ben serves on the Legislative and Advocacy Committee of AAMFT-CA. Ben became a fellow in 2013.
Ben is available for consultation. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eric Carlson is a licensed marriage and family therapist (#96974) who graduated with a Masters in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica in 2012 and a Masters in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University, Los Angeles in 2013. Eric has wide-ranging experience working with children and their families, including with physically and developmentally disabled children in New York when he was in high school and college, as an adult in Los Angeles coaching boys soccer and basketball in South Central, working at Public Counsel’s Children’s Rights Project counseling children in guardianship and adoption proceedings, and serving on the original Board of Directors of a start-up, non profit charter school for underprivileged youth. Eric became a Fellow of SII in 2014.
Cindy Weathers, is a licensed marriage and family therapist (#81539). Her practice areas include individual, couple, family, and group therapy. Her specialty is working with adolescents and young adults to resolve issues such as bullying, low self-esteem, self-injurious behavior, addiction, and difficulty with emotional connection. Cindy has worked in a variety of therapeutic settings, including outpatient clinics, a psychiatric urgent care, and an adolescent treatment center. Cindy obtained a B.A. in psychology from the State University of New York at Albany. She then went on to complete a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy from Antioch University, Los Angeles. Cindy became a Fellow of SII in 2015.
Katie Rosenberry is a marriage and family therapist registered intern (#69875) who is currently working toward obtaining a doctorate in clinical psychology. She has been working with children, teens, and families for four years and takes a special interest in self-injury and the overlap between health behaviors and therapy. Katie earned a Bachelors degree in psychology from UCLA and a Masters degree from Antioch University, where she specialized in clinical psychology and child studies. Katie became a Fellow of SII in 2013. Katie is supervised by Ben Caldwell, PsyD (MFC42723).