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