Content note: self-harm and picture of well healed scars.
People who self-harm face a high degree of stigma, judgement and discrimination in our society. When someone does something that injures themselves, often the pain and distress is compounded by harsh and shaming treatment by hospital staff, psychiatric systems and sometimes by family and friends.
What I am interested in is what the scars from self-harm represent for people months or years later, when perhaps they are in a different place emotionally and mentally. What do the scars continue to be associated with, what stories and memories are held in a scar and what physical and emotional impact do the scars continue to have on the person? The physical appearance of a scar can severely affect people’s confidence and body image, especially when mental health distress and self-harm is still so misunderstood and stigmatised.
Having trained in Sharon Wheeler’s ScarWork, I have been busy recently working on people’s scars. In three of these cases, I have worked on self-harm on arms or legs. These are some of the results:
You can see the change to the appearance and texture of these scars after only about 30 min work on each scar. The leg scar that does not appear to change drastically was causing the client intermittent deep and sudden pain and this has significantly reduced after one ScarWork session, according to the client.
I am a Certified Sexological Bodyworker and also have a qualification in ScarWork. I can offer clients a combination of the two where necessary (great for genital scars/lower surgery/childbirth and scars that affect pelvic function). Or I can offer ScarWork as a standalone therapy and I particularly specialise in non-genital scars related to trans surgery, and self-harm.
ScarWork treatment is gentle, non-invasive and painless. It involves a 1-1.5 hour session where the client relaxes and the practitioner uses a range of gentle massage strokes and compassionate and nurturing touch. In the cases I have worked on, I have been seeing visible differences in the physical appearance of the scars and improvements in how it feels for the client, in only one session. More than one session is recommended to make the maximum improvement to the scar and underlying tissues.
Any response to the treatment is welcome, perhaps you will tell me stories that come up, or get emotional, or just relax and enjoy the feeling of reconnecting to a part of your body that has been through so much. Or even drift off to sleep!
Words clients use to describe having their self-harm scars worked on;
Treated with respect and care.
Recommended you to a self-harm forum.
Definite change in the pain I used to get in the scar.
The scar feels different to the touch.
I feel much less inclined to self-harm in that area now.
It was profound having someone take such care over my scars.
I can’t believe they don’t look as red and aggravated anymore.
The scars are softer to the touch and flatter.
If you would like to discuss ScarWork sessions please do contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact form on this website.
Thanks for reading.