The healing power of tattoos

For Your Health

A tattoo artist is helping victims of assault regain control.

LOS ANGELES (CNN) — Healing through ink.

That’s the mission for Sabrina Dreshcer – a Los Angeles tattoo artist who helps victims of assault with ‘tattoo therapy’.

And now some experts say this method could help others who are hoping to reclaim control following a traumatic experience.

This prison-style tattoo session is therapy.

Sabrina Drescher says, “It just makes this really soft tapping pulling sound as it goes underneath the skin.”

Alissa Merz says, “It’s like a prick”

Each tap

Is another step on the long journey of healing for Alissa Merz – who was sexually assaulted.

Merz says, “I really felt like I knew him.”

It starts with Merz sharing her story with the artist

Merz says, “My solution was to play dead.”

The artist comes up with images and patterns

Now, Merz is in control- choosing to tattoo her hip, because that’s where her attacker grabbed her during the assault.

The pain from the needles on her terms releases endorphins and rebrands the trauma.

Merz says, “Right now I’ve just been thinking about how strong my body is”

Drescher says, “It’s a gift”

Sabrina Drescher is a tattoo artist focused on healing trauma.

Drescher says, “Tattooing is painful but it’s self-initiated it kind of allows you to use all those elements that have been used to take your body away from you and use them to get them back.”

Shes one of many artists a new trend of tattoo therapy, utilizing the pain from the needles to reclaim trauma

Sometimes it takes the form of transforming scars from an accident or in Merz’s case reclaiming her body after an assault.

Merz says, “I’m excited”

Georgetown University Clinical Psychologist Dr. Andrea Bonior says, “They’ve had their personal control taken away and retaking that through tattoos can be a powerful experience”

Mental health experts say this new trend in tattooing can be an extremely effective therapy.

Dr. Bonior says, “Asserting control over your own body once again and you’re creating something that feels artistic and meaningful to you”

Merz says, “I’m a stronger more resilient version of myself I wanted to put myself in control of the narrative.”

One stick and poke at a time.

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