Kintsugi and Depression

Renaissance Life Therapies Introduction To Kintsugi.

In Japan, there is an ancient art form called Kintsugi. Effectively, this is repairing damaged items using gold, which means that the item’s beauty is in its repair. This process is analogous to treating depression and associated mental health conditions. By accepting the cracks as part of what makes us ‘Us’ and by embodying the repairs as part of our healing process, we can come to a heightened understanding of ourselves as humans, and our position within society.

What is Kintsugi?

Literally translated as “golden joinery” in Japanese, Kintsugi (pronounced kintski) refers to the art of fixing broken ceramics with a special lacquer resin made to look like solid gold. Many items repaired using this method take on a more complex and beautiful look once they have undergone the process, and of course: they have a story to tell.

Kintsugi appears to date back to the 15th century, when Ashikaga Yoshimasa (the shogun of the time) returned a damaged Chinese tea bowl to be repaired. When the bowl returned, it was disappointing; held together with metal staples. This prompted Japanese craftsmen to create a new type of repair to improve the appearance of the tea bowl.

Kintsugi demands that repairs are made with such immaculate precision using a prized  precious metal; that the aesthetic of the piece changes entirely. Incorporating the new abstract look, the pieces are modernised and aesthetically reject ‘damage’ and violence associations.

How is this related to depression?

In order to truly overcome feelings of depression, we at first have to acknowledge them. The recent death of actor Robin Williams reminds us that a complicated mind is often a brilliant mind. In order for a person to achieve their greatest perspective and understanding in life, they may first have to experience serious downsides.

Ultimately, what can be a consuming and debilitating condition, when treated correctly can empower a sufferer to become the very best version of themselves; displaying their cracks and wearing them with pride.

How can counselling help?

The idea of seeking counselling, psychotherapy or CBT is to help you live a more fulfilling life, in spite of trauma, suffering and adversity that you may have experienced. It allows you to reflect, accept and move forward: empowered by ownership of your feelings, responses and actions. We like the analogy of kintsugi because it demonstrates embracing the ‘damage’ we have been caused and turning it into a positive. We believe that with the right guidance, anyone who has suffered from the helplessness, despair and loneliness of depression and associated mental health problems can live a more fulfilled life and use their experiences to develop a greater human understanding and consciousness.

When we accept our difficulties and take ownership of them, we become a more powerful person; able to be in control of our current situation and our future. The very thing that is our undoing can make us stronger, brighter and more resplendent than before. To begin your journey into transforming your life through verbal kintsugi, contact us today.