Kids often engage in self-injury in order to relieve overwhelming emotional stress OR as an attempt to escape a feeling of numbness and emptiness. Some kids may only engage in the behavior a few times, while others can rely on self-injury as a consistent way to temporarily manage their emotional problems. Still other children may have underlying psychological illnesses, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, that require treatment. Therefore, it is extremely important to locate a professional counselor who can help the family find the underlying cause of the behavior, help the child manage her emotions, and find alternative ways to cope with stress.
I agree with this caution; in addition, occasionally self-injury can be a sign of an underlying organic (physical) condition that needs to be diagnosed, so consulting with the pediatrician for all of these children is important.