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We all wear scars: a reflection on healing and resilience

Scars are an inevitable part of life. They mark our physical bodies and our emotional landscapes, serving as reminders of the challenges we have faced and the strength we’ve found to overcome them. While society often encourages us to hide our imperfections, psychotherapy teaches us the importance of embracing our scars as symbols of resilience and growth.

Understanding Scars

Scars can be both physical and emotional. Physical scars result from injuries or surgeries, while emotional scars arise from experiences like trauma, loss or significant life changes. Regardless of their form, scars tell a story about our journey. They are evidence of our survival, each one representing a chapter in our personal history.

The Power of Reflection

In psychotherapy, reflecting on our scars is a crucial step towards healing. This process involves exploring the events that caused these scars and understanding their impact on our lives. As Dr. Bessel van der Kolk notes in ‘The Body Keeps the Score’, “trauma is not just an event that took place sometime in the past; it is also the imprint left by that experience on mind, brain, and body” (2014). By exploring these imprints, we can uncover patterns in our behaviour and emotional responses, gaining insight into how past experiences shape our present.

Reflection also helps us reframe our scars from symbols of pain to emblems of resilience. Instead of viewing them as reminders of our vulnerabilities, we begin to see them as badges of honour, signifying the strength we have mustered to move forward. As Brené Brown states in ‘Daring Greatly’, “vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weaknesses” (2012).

Embracing Our Scars

Embracing our scars means acknowledging our past without letting it define us. It is about accepting that while we can’t change what happened, we can change how we perceive it. This shift in perspective is empowering, allowing us to take control of our narrative. Judith Herman, in ‘Trauma and Recovery’, emphasises that “the recovery process is profoundly influenced by the relationships of the survivor with others” (1997), highlighting the importance of supportive relationships in healing.

In therapy, this acceptance often comes through storytelling. Sharing our experiences with a trusted therapist provides a safe space to process emotions and gain validation. This act of sharing not only facilitates healing but also fosters a deeper connection with ourselves and others. James Pennebaker, in ‘Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions’, explains, “writing about emotional upheavals in our lives can improve physical and mental health” (1997).

Scars and Connection

Our scars can also serve as bridges to others. When we openly share our struggles and the lessons we’ve learned, we create opportunities for empathy and support. This vulnerability can strengthen our relationships as it encourages others to share their own stories, fostering a sense of shared humanity. As Irvin Yalom writes in ‘The Gift of Therapy’, “the act of revealing oneself fully to another and still being accepted may be the major vehicle of therapeutic help” (2002).

Moving Forward

Reflecting on our scars is not about dwelling on the past but about understanding it to build a healthier future. It is a continuous process of self-discovery and growth. By acknowledging and embracing our scars, we can move forward with greater self-awareness and resilience.

In conclusion, we all wear scars, but it is how we choose to view them that matters. They can be seen as marks of defeat or as symbols of strength and survival. Through reflection and acceptance, we can transform our scars into powerful reminders of our resilience and our capacity to heal and grow.

Embrace your scars, honour your journey, and continue moving forward with courage and compassion.

References

  1. 1. Van der Kolk, B. A. (2014). *The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma*. Penguin Books.
  2. 2. Herman, J. L. (1997). *Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence–From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror*. Basic Books.
  3. 3. Pennebaker, J. W. (1997). *Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions*. Guilford Press.
  4. 4. Brown, B. (2012). *Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead*. Gotham Books.
  5. 5. Yalom, I. D. (2002). *The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients*. Harper Perennial.
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About Leanne Attard

TherapyPacks Terms and Conditions

1. TherapyPacks come in bundles of 5 or 10 sessions. Prices of bundles:

  • 5 sessions – €270 – must be utilised within 3 months from date of purchase
  • 10 sessions – €520 – must be utilised within 6 months from date of purchase

2. Bundles are not transferable. This means they cannot be used by, or gifted to, anyone else but the person whose name is listed as the TherapyPacks bundle holder.

3. Bundles which are purchased for Couples Therapy and Family Therapy can only be used by members of the couple or family with one therapist. If members of a couple or family decide to take up individual therapy with another therapist, the bundle will only apply to sessions with the therapist originally referred and cannot be also used for the individual sessions with another therapist. Exceptions will be made if the original therapist is unable to see the client or family and the couple or family are referred to another therapist. After referral, the same conditions will apply.

4. Bundles are valid for a limited time period, as listed above. This means that the bundles will expire once the respective time period has elapsed. Any sessions not utilised within this period will be lost. This means that a refund will not be given for unused sessions. Start date commences on date of purchase of bundles.

5. Bundles are only valid for full price sessions (charged at €60) and not for sessions with trainee psychotherapists, reports or assessments.

6. Full payment needs to be made on purchase, via bank transfer, cash or credit card.

7. Management reserves the right to terminate or suspend the use of the bundles. Reasons for such are at the discretion of the clinic.

8. Refunds or extensions of time period within which bundles may be used is at the discretion of management and will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

9. Management reserves the right to modify or replace the terms and conditions. In such circumstances, clients will be given adequate notice and time to adhere to such.

10. The clinic’s cancellation policy is applicable also to bundles. Late cancellations or no shows will result in the forfeit of a session within the bundle allocation.

11. Responsibility for ensuring timely use of session bundles remains that of the TherapyPacks bundle holder or, in the case of a minor, their carer/legal guardian.