Getty Images

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.


Latest Posts


Studio shots by Alinne Volpato

Jovani Furlan's Open-Hearted Dancing—And Personality—Lights Up New York City Ballet

Something magical happens when Jovani Furlan smiles at another dancer onstage. Whether it's a warm acknowledgment between sections of Jerome Robbins' Dances at a Gathering or an infectious grin delivered in the midst of a puzzle box of a sequence in Justin Peck's Everywhere We Go, whoever is on the receiving end brightens.

"I could stare at him forever," says New York City Ballet principal Megan Fairchild. "He's just that kind of open spirit. He's not judging anything. It's like he's looking at you with his arms wide open and a big smile—even if he's not smiling, that's the energy he's giving you."

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS