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Injured? How to Avoid the Self-Blame Spiral

Dealing with a dance injury? Dr. Brian Goonan, a Houston-based psychologist who works with dancers, gives advice on refocusing your emotions when you're on the road to recovery.


Reflection over criticism

It's normal for dancers to slip into a spiral of "shoulda-woulda-coulda" after an injury. "You don't want it to happen again, so you're trying to figure out how it happened the first time," Goonan says. The injury may have exposed a bad habit or mistake. Take an honest look at where you can improve, but try not to let it veer into self-criticism.

Learn by observation

Ask yourself: "What can I observe when I'm not under pressure to perform?" View your time on the sidelines as an opportunity to glean a rare perspective from class or rehearsal.

Rebuild trust

When you return to dancing, recognize that you may not fully trust your body. "Give yourself permission to gradually regain your strength," says Goonan.


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