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I have some very visible scars on my left arm from self harm. Normally they don't really bother me, because I accept things as they are and that was a stage in my life. My only hold up with this is that in about 3 months I will be taking clients in a mental health counseling setting as in intern. I am slightly concerned for my clients to see that. I have heard many opinions on this. I was considering getting a tattoo to cover the scars but I have heard from others that the scars could make me more "relatable" especially with someone who is participating in self harm. I would just like to hear some opinions about the matter.

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It is possible to tattoo over a scar in a way that will make it less noticeable to the casual observer, but that it will still show to anyone who’s looking, or who spends much time in your company. 

You would also need to consult with a tattoo artist about the best way to deal with your particular scar tissue.

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that's a tough one. i know i feel comforted by seeing other folk's scars, but i'm not actively harming and don't get any "itch" to harm when i see someone else's scars. someone who is actively harming (or recently in recovery) might be more triggered by them, particularly if they're long, wide, or pink/red. that's what i experienced, anyway.

i think if i were you, i'd be more inclined to let them show, even more so if they're very obviously old and long-healed. depending on your style and dress code, you can always take along a light cardigan, sweater, or other arm-covering piece of clothing. my go-to is an open flannel shirt, but i'm in a very casual workplace.

also worth considering is an arm sleeve, like the kind used for UV coverage. i think sports places carry them, but also amazon, for sure. obviously it depends if you would feel comfortable wearing one/if it would mesh with your style, but it would cover the scars themselves. plus, it might act as a flag for folks who self-harm(ed). i know i, as someone with scars, tend to suspect seeing someone who never rolls up their sleeves, or otherwise goes to some length to cover their arm(s).

as for the tattoo, gearhead has good advice. tattoos can do a good job of disguising scars, particularly in the case of shallow scars, but i've found that if you know what to look for, they're not too hard to see under the ink.

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@Gearhead @echolocation Thanks for your opinions. I’m thinking of leaving them be. Why waste 200+ dollars trying to hide something that someone who knows what to look for can blatantly see. Also I don’t want to hide that part of my journey. I hope it gives hope to others that though that was a time in my life, I did I fact make it through. At that time I will be taking clients the scars will will 7 months old. They are pretty well healed now but still noticeable. I think the core of this issue is shame based. Shame that I resorted to that to relieve the suffering that I was going through. But I believe if it turns one client towards hope, it will be worth it. Thank you for weighing in on this. I really appreciate it

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My biggest concern would be using caution around clients with very recent self harm/self harm attempts who haven’t had a chance to get a “clearer” perspective because it could definitely be a trigger or bring back the emotions in that minute. I am not saying that showing scars would be a bad thing, but you might have to “read the room” first 

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