Leading a search for ‘gold’ in the lifelong recovery from trauma

smiling woman in blue shirt

How Kintsugi is helping these women heal from trauma

While talking about her group therapy Kintsugi class, Clarissa mentions the importance of how women feel stronger when they know they are not alone. She begins this lesson quite dramatically – by smashing a bowl. Later in the session, they begin the process of repair – piece by piece. She explains about how this illustrates the process of inner personal healing. Taking your time piecing the physical bowl back, letting the glue solidify, is a key for your personal healing and the pottery.

While their pottery is being repaired, women talk with one another, sharing their healing journey and how kintsugi has helped them. The most interesting part of this art therapy class is everyone is essentially working on the same task, however, each pottery bowl is unique as each person in the room.

What is Kintsugi?

Kintsugi is a 400 year-old art form that honors the cracks in broken objects. Kintsugi or Kintsukuroi focuses on mending the cracks in pottery by using a gold, platinum or silver liquid to fill the cracks.

The main objective of Kintsugi is to embrace all the flaws rather than trying to hide them. These cracks in the pottery are what make each of these artefacts unique. The cracks are part of its history and that is why they are highlighted with golden or silver liquid. These symbolise highlighted scars and show the strength and character of each piece of pottery.

A very important message to grasp from Kintsugi is that whenever we mend a broken piece of pottery we create something much stronger. You shouldn’t necessarily throw away something that is broken, rather you have the opportunity to create something new and beautiful.

The Healing Power of Kintsugi

Have you ever wondered why we find people with flaws more relateable and approachable? We may idealise people who appear flawless but in truth we feel no real connection with them. They are unattainable. However, when people show their vulnerabilities and weaknesses, a mutual understanding and intimacy forms.

Clarissa’s trauma survivors learn that hiding our real selves and vulnerabilities creates a false identity. We believe our failures are concrete and the failures of others are abstract. The same vulnerability is perceived as courage in other people but failure when we see ourself. And kintsugi teaches us the perfect way to deal with this mind set. Creating art from those broken pieces and gluing them together is a metaphor for the delicate restoration of their own souls.

Clarissa’s Art Therapy

Clarissa Carpenter formed the Younique Foundation to help survivors of child sexual abuse. Her story is powerful and inspiring for all the woman shee meets. As a survivor of child sexual abuse herself she can empathise with the people she helps at the foundation. Clarissa’s Kintsugi art therapy classes help the survivors heal.

We all have hurts in our past and we can learn from the journey of these women.

Kintugi reminds us that we have a purpose

Kintsugi doesn’t just focus on finding beauty in scars, it is also important in restoring the purpose of the object. By gluing the pieces together, the pot will have a use again. Kintsugi reminds us that the hardships that we face don’t really change our purpose in life. We can keep pursuing our dreams and goals. Nothing should stop you from working towards your goals.The struggles are a time for reflection rather than giving up on your life or dreams.

Our mindset changes when we focus on the Kintsugi work

Most of us often believe that we should hide our flaws and vulnerabilities. We always aspire to be perfect and think that we can only achieve it by hiding our mistakes. This mindset that we are not broken is one of the key aspects that is holding us back from healing. We think that by supressing our struggles we can let the unbroken parts shine which is completely wrong. This revolves around the philosophy that something is wrong with us which is not true. Rather, it is a natural process everyone goes through and we need to embrace it.

The Kintsugi golden joins remind us that our scars are valuable

One of the primary things that Kintsugi teaches us is that are flaws are unique and beautiful. There is no need to keep them hidden rather you should wear them proudly in front of the world. By using gold or silver liquid to highlight the cracks in the pottery we learn to own our flaws. Our flaws are what make us unique. Wounds of the soul also need air to heal. You need to let them breathe to heal properly.

Even though she owned a few Kintsugi bowls she didn’t realise how powerfully Kintsugi resonated with her until she one day joined an art therapy class. Being someone who didn’t want to be recognized as a victim, she found strength in her scars. She didn’t want to be ashamed of the sexual abuse but she wanted to be a survivor and feel valuable.

I had cracks, but those valuable streaks of gold are a part of my history too.” , she says.No two bowls are the same. They never break the same and each person must follow a process to repair their bowl.”

One can not rush this process by gluing multiple shards at once because the bowl will fall apart and it will take a lot longer to get back together. For Kintsugi you have to let your soul heal along with the pottery and it takes time and patience to find a sense of purpose and wholeness.