The first time I witnessed the mental health industry 20 years ago, my psychology supervisor was also a dancer.
While she did not talk much about her tango life, she did talk about the importance of creativity and enjoying life. She talked about why we need more than our jobs to be happy. While I only spent a few sessions with her, I will never forget the moment that she peeled orange in her office, asked me to smell it, and then told me about the milonga she was going to perform at.
She said it was going to be “beautiful.”
I thought she was out of her mind.
Years later, when I became an avid dancer and found my way into tango, I realized that her gift as a healer was not just in her academic credential, but in her desire to experience life fully. She was a passionate woman and her energy exuded sensuality without it crossing over to being professionally inappropriate.
For this reason, she worked really well with adolescents. They gravitated to her love of life, her choice of music, and her enthusiasm.
This was how they and their families got better.
Many people are looking for support these days. Yet, what we also need is fun, enjoyment, passion, and enthusiasm for life again.
So what’s the solution to finding balance if you are seeking support from others?
Ask them what they do for fun and what they do outside the office when not working. In this day and age, you need support from people who have been able to create a life they love.
Today, I reached out to other mental health professionals to ask them to join me on my podcast if they had a fun story to share. I’ve found out that people in my community are part-time models, artists, videographers, and have passions that have served them while they have also been locked up during a pandemic. Many of them are also avid social dancers who have learned the importance of moving the body as a way to clear our energy and deal with depressive symptoms.
You can choose your therapist based on academic credentials, and you should if that is important to you. But if you think those pieces of paper are the only reason why a therapist is a gifted healer, you would be wrong.
The most creative, entrepreneurial, enthusiastic, and passionate people I have ever met all have passions outside of their day job. The best mental health professionals often have had former careers as dancers, performers, or in a creative industry. They also maintain a daily wellness routine, exercise, and walk their own talk.
You can email 35 therapists on your insurance plan, but you really should just ask one question: “What do you do for fun when you are not helping your clients with anxiety and depression?”
Then wait for the answers. Hopefully, you will be pleasantly surprised and realize that maybe, you should be taking that tango or acting class in addition to seeing your therapist.
Therapy is not supposed to be torturous, it should be life-affirming, supportive, and a launching pad for a new life.
Do you have a story about how your creative therapist helped you relaunch your life?
In the meantime, since I love to dance, here are three of my favorite dance/music videos for your to take a look at.
You never know where inspiration is going to come from, so enjoy the dancing and the music.
(Vanessa Williams’ mother was a music teacher of mine, and I personally love this movie as a throwback).