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Warrior Scar Jewelry Program at the World Burn Congress, A Post Traumatic Growth Experience

Holly and Chris Gage were at the World Burn Congress and taught their Warrior Scar Jewelry program, a Post Traumatic Growth experience. Pictures is a happy burn survivor showing the jewelry she made of her scars

A burn survivor has long path to rebuilding a life after taking a dramatic turn, requiring many to reinvent themselves and gain a shred of confidence in their newly fire-molded bodies. Their scars tell a warrior’s story, and we suggest instead of hating them, there might be a little room to celebrate the bravery needed to obtain them by making Warrior Scar Jewelry, a post traumatic growth experience.

As often as he rolls up his sleeve for the Warrior Scar Jewelry workshop, a post traumatic growth experience, it takes Chris out of his comfort zone, as on a regular day, you might catch him tugging at his sleeve to hide the scars that peek out. Chris stands there vulnerable as the entire class has eyes on one of the parts of his body he hates. As he explains his discomfort in showing his scars, however, at the same time, he demonstrates to the group that doing so during the program is also safe for them. In fact, during the round table discussion at the end of the program, one of the participants described to Chris how empowering that was for her. The power of his actions and the meaning behind her words couldn’t be understated, as it points to the many tiny realizations that take place when you allow yourself to be vulnerable.

As we started working on the warrior scar jewelry, we asked them what message they wanted the scars to tell. Many inscribed words of meaning and inspiration to them on the reverse side, such as Survivor, Warrior, Fortitude, a faith quote, and one person wrote “Me” as she continued on the journey of self-discovery. They sat there working for several hours with lots of conversation between them about their accident and the challenges they now face.

After the Warrior Scar Jewelry workshop, we facilitated a thoughtful post traumatic growth discussion, allowing the burn survivors to tell their burn survival story and discussed their achievements since their accident. Some talked about what they saw in the jewelry they made, another described in visual terms how this represented her healing journey, and another took a massive step in revealing her scars for the first time. It is incredible to us that seven-hours of creating art, sharing, and talking to a sympathetic group would be so healing. 

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