We invited participants in our dance therapy group to write about their experience. Thanks to their openness and sincerity, you can enjoy their sharing in this blogpost. Don’t hesitate to reach out if something here resonates with you.
Hi Lili, please share a bit about you!
I’m Lili Ullrich, 26, artist and actress. I come from a multicultural family, with one older sister with a daughter of 2 years old (my beautiful niece). Born and raised in Frankfurt, Germany, I came to the Netherlands to study Fine Art at the Willem De Kooning. I graduated this summer after two year of studying.
How did you come to join our dance therapy group?
I found out about it on Facebook and was attracted to the possibility to find support and change aspects of my life, that I wanted to change. I haven’t been able to see my therapist in Germany on a regular basis and was in need of further support.
Did you have any concern before signing up?
I was unsure whether I could bring my problems into the group. Whether I could share the depth of what I was going through, especially in front of others, and also in front of our therapist Irene. Then I realised, that nothing was going to change if I didn’t give it a try in the first place. The topic of self-compassion really spoke to me, as I often find myself in a negative headspace.
In your own words, what do you say we do in the sessions?
We move, and through moving, we explore questions in our life. We share our experiences when moving in a specific way, the thoughts that came up, the struggles and positive feelings. Then we try to understand what our body is telling us. We draw, we speak, we listen and share our experiences.
Is there one special moment that you’re willing to share?
After having several years of psycho-therapy treatment, I was surprised how fast the main issues in my behaviour came to the surface and how clear things became in dance therapy. I felt like this was a very practical approach to changing certain aspects in my thinking and doing. The visualisation and honesty of what I was experiencing through my body, made it easier for me to understand the depth and themes of my struggle.
One breakthrough moment was during an exercise with the mirror. I realised how hard it was to approach myself in the mirror, while thinking positively and supportive about myself in the reflection. It was hard to walk forward and to keep my thoughts positive. This really hit me. I didn’t have a clear idea before, how much I actually am in battle with myself.
The theme is self-compassion. What is your personal meaning of this?
To me self-compassion is helping yourself, when you are feeling angry, down, jealous, depressed, sad etc. Often times when i experience negative emotions I tend to be hard on myself and that makes me feel even worse. To approach myself from a perspective of a friend, to actively talk in a positive way to myself was and is a big change I’m making.
What’s your biggest struggle when it comes to self-compassion?
Not to give up on myself and beat me for all the ‘wrongs’ I do, all the expectations I fail, and the unrestrained emotions which can overwhelm me. I’m cultivating a positive voice, that encourages me, understands and supports me, especially when I’m going through difficult moments.
What’s the most important positive outcome you experienced as a result of attending the sessions?
The clarity about what the topics are, that I’m struggling with.
The clarity of the intensity of the problems.
The shared experience with others and the insight, that we are not alone with our struggles, a lot of people are going through difficult things.
It made me feel lighter to take the time to listen to and support others in the group.
Any other less positive outcome that you’re willing to share, though?Sometimes there is not enough time to tell all the details of your struggles. If you have the need to speak through all the details, a speaking therapy is probably more helpful.
What do you wish to tell people who are still hesitating whether they should go for this or not?
Try it out. You will find a safe and supportive environment and a compassionate and sensitive therapist, Irene, who will slowly guide you through your physical and emotional experience.
What’s next for you?
I want to continue the work, go deeper into my needs and finding ways of healing and supporting myself, to learn how to enjoy and love life more fully.
We thank Lili for sharing her story and wish her a steadfast continuation of her self-compassion journey.
Curious to know more about our dance therapy program?
Contact us and we’ll get back to you soon!