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What exactly is Kintsugi?

Kintsugi is the ancient Japanese art of reassembling broken pieces of pottery using gold. Kintsugi craftsmen understand that if we embrace flaws and imperfections, we can create a piece of art more striking, more beautiful, and even stronger than the original. The finished piece is not a repaired version of the original; it is an evolution of it.

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So how do we do that?

At Kintsugi counselling, our primary therapeutic lens is the NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM). NARM is a newer psychotherapy model but its approach to healing and transformation evokes many of the valuable lessons Kintsugi has taught us over the last 400 years.

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How does this relate to psychotherapy?

Often in western culture we see something that we think is broken and we feel compelled to repair it to like new condition or discard it altogether. Kintsugi philosophy, instead, embraces and even highlights the blemishes and uses gold to create scars that celebrate, rather than hide, the injury.


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At Kintsugi counselling we view psychotherapy as being like the art of Kintsugi. We journey with you, supporting you to delicately repair the shattered pieces of your soul with threads of understanding and golden insight. Psychotherapy, like Kintsugi, involves a process of healing and transformation. Just as Kintsugi repairs broken pottery by mending the cracks with gold, psychotherapy can help repair your emotional wounds by acknowledging and embracing those parts of yourself that you feel are broken.


In Kintsugi, the cracks and imperfections of a broken object are not concealed or discarded; they are highlighted and celebrated using gold. Similarly, in psychotherapy, the therapist creates a safe and supportive space for you to openly explore your vulnerabilities, traumas, and emotional struggles.


Just as Kintsugi emphasizes the beauty and uniqueness that emerges from the mended cracks, psychotherapy recognizes the strength and resilience that can arise from facing and integrating your past experiences and challenges. Through our unique therapeutic process, you can develop a deeper understanding of yourself, find meaning in your pain, and cultivate a stronger sense of self-worth and self-acceptance.


Both Kintsugi and psychotherapy acknowledge that the journey of healing is not about erasing or hiding our brokenness but rather embracing it as an integral part of our identity. By embracing our cracks and healing them with compassion and insight, we can create a life that is not only repaired but also enriched, just like the mended pottery adorned with golden seams in Kintsugi.

NARM is a somatically-oriented therapeutic approach that focuses on resolving developmental trauma and supporting the integration of fragmented parts of the self, while Kintsugi is an art form that repairs broken pottery, highlighting the beauty of imperfection.


Here are some ways in which NARM therapy and Kintsugi can be compared:


1. Embracing imperfection: Both NARM therapy and Kintsugi recognize the inherent value in imperfection. In NARM therapy we acknowledge that traumatic experiences and their impact on the self are natural responses to life's challenges. Similarly, Kintsugi celebrates the cracks and flaws in pottery, recognizing them as a unique part of its history and beauty.


2. Integration of fragments: NARM therapy and Kintsugi aim to integrate the fragmented aspects of a person or object. As NARM therapists, we focus on integrating fragmented parts of the self, promoting self-awareness and self-compassion much like Kintsugi integrates broken pieces of pottery by mending them with gold, emphasizing the journey of transformation and wholeness.


3. Resilience and transformation: Both NARM and Kintsugi emphasize the potential for growth, resilience, and transformation. Using NARM, we assist individuals in recognizing and navigating their adaptive survival strategies, ultimately fostering new patterns of relating and being, similar to the way Kintsugi transforms broken pottery into a work of art, highlighting the beauty that emerges from the mended cracks.


4. Mindful attention and presence: Both NARM therapy and Kintsugi require a mindful and present-centered approach. As NARM therapists, we attune to our client's somatic experience and relational dynamics, and provide a safe and supportive environment for healing. Similarly, Kintsugi practitioners engage in a meticulous and meditative process, honoring each step of the repair with focused attention and intention.








While NARM therapy primarily focuses on internal healing and relational dynamics, and Kintsugi pertains to physical objects, both approaches share a philosophy of embracing imperfection, integrating brokenness, and nurturing resilience and transformation.


When you come to Kintsugi counselling, we first and foremost invite you to stop being so hard on yourself; you are not broken and we encourage you to embrace and accept imperfections: In Kintsugi, the cracks and flaws in pottery are not seen as something to be hidden or ashamed of, but rather as a valuable part of its history and beauty. Similarly, in therapy, a Kintsugi approach encourages you to embrace your imperfections, vulnerabilities, and past traumas without judgment or shame. By accepting and acknowledging these aspects, healing can begin.


We will also invite you to recognize the value of your journey: Kintsugi honors the process of repair and transformation. Similarly, our Kintsugi-inspired therapy recognizes that healing is not a linear path but a unique journey for each individual. We value your challenges, setbacks, and growth along the way, and we invite you to learn to appreciate your progress and develop patience and self-compassion.

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Just as Kintsugi uses gold to mend broken pottery and emphasize its beauty, a Kintsugi approach in therapy focuses on highlighting your strengths, resilience, and inner resources. We help uncover your unique qualities, talents, and abilities, and remind you that your experiences of brokenness do not define you.


Kintsugi involves mending broken pottery with golden seams, creating a new and transformed piece. Similarly, our Kintsugi-inspired therapy supports the integration of past wounds and traumas into your narrative. Our clients tell us this helps them make meaning out of their experiences, find healing in the process of integration, and discover a newfound sense of wholeness and strength.


Kintsugi celebrates the beauty of imperfection, and our Kintsugi-inspired therapy promotes self-acceptance and self-worth. By embracing and repairing the cracks within yourself, you can develop a more compassionate and loving relationship with yourself. You can learn to see your vulnerabilities as sources of strength and appreciate your unique journey towards healing.


Overall, our Kintsugi approach to psychotherapy emphasizes acceptance, transformation, and resilience. We invite our clients to view their experiences and personal growth as a beautiful and valuable process, where the mending of emotional wounds can lead to a stronger sense of self and a more fulfilling life.

In the tapestry of our lives, we all bear the marks of cracks and fractures, evidence of the struggles we have endured. But we can learn from the profound wisdom of Kintsugi, where shattered pottery is mended with golden seams, transforming it into a masterpiece. Just as the skilled hands of the artisan repair brokenness with grace and intention, so too can psychotherapy offer us the golden threads of healing and transformation. At Kintsugi Counselling we provide the safe embrace of an evidence-informed therapeutic space and offer you the opportunity to explore your deepest wounds, to understand their origins, and to stitch together the fragments of your shattered self. Through the gentle guidance of our compassionate therapists, we help you uncover the hidden beauty in your imperfections and discover strength and resilience you never thought possible. We invite you to not fear your perceived brokenness, but instead to embrace it as a part of your unique story. Seek out the transformative power of Kintsugi Counselling, and together we will embark on a journey of healing, weaving golden narratives of wholeness and self-discovery.

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