Dance movement Psychotherapist Eszter Ivan talks movement, breathing and how we all need to take time to reconnect with ourselves. This is a far-ranging episode and covers a lot of interesting and helpful ground including mindfulness, meditation, many types of therapy and of course – the joy and value of a jolly good dance.
Eszter is straight-talking, genuine and both Jonathan and Ollie left this episode glowing (while holding their Buzz Lightyear power poses). Over stunningly varied career, Eszter has learned a great deal and is kind enough to share a lot of practical wisdom in this episode.
At this moment in time, after a year of lockdown for many of us, Eszter’s message of the need to pause, to rest and to shake your arms and legs to the beat if it takes you has never been more vital. May this episode warm you up and get you smiling.
About the show:
Problem Busters is a show that explores solutions to the biggest and the smallest of problems. Hosts Jonathan Goodwin and Oliver Happy discuss making the world a better place with guests from far and wide.
About our guest:
Eszter Ivan is a Dance movement Psychotherapist, student councellor and Somatic coach. Eszter’s wide-ranging career has centred around the themes of movement and therapy. More recently, she became a transformational coach at the Animas Centre for Coaching. She is currently Head of People for Gregorian House Hotel, a student councellor for Irie Dance Theatre company and is currently building her own practice.
- 02:00 Dance movement psychotherapy as a dream career, combining the two passions of psychology and dance.
- Dance as something in my life that helped me to deal with many problems and conflicts in a positive way.
- Somatic coaching as a way to deal with conflict in the workplace
- Somatic coaching believes that body and mind are connected. I see the person as a whole, body and mind.
- 03:22 There are always observations of the posture and body that when awareness is raised, clients can notice, initiate change on a body level and this can help both behaviour and emotional level.
- If a client shares an experience, and I notice they don’t breathe, if I raise this to their attention, just starting to breathe can help let go of tension and have positive downstream effects.
- This goes for muscle tension and many other areas of life
- By picking up on the physical signs of clients (or indeed anyone around us), we can learn more about their state of being, can share it as feedback and they will improve things for themselves.
- 06:30 Clients once they realise what they are doing in their body, can use this understanding as a way to regulate their emotions and their reactions to situations, for example a stressful moment with their manager.
- 08:50 If someone comes to me that they are always tired and really exhausted, I help them to see the signs the body is showing, so they can notice and prevent their suffering.
- Reconnecting with our body’s wisdom as a concept – learning to listen to the signs, to where I feel tension and this helps to better understand our state and to be able to do something about it.
- My field is more about non-verbal communication.
- 10:30 wanting to use non-verbal communication led me to Somatic coaching, but dance was always there for me.
- 11:30 Applying a somatic approach to grief recovery. This helps when clients need help with self-regulation (perhaps getting up in the morning or managing at work due to grief).
- 13:00 Self-regulation relates to the need to regulate the reactions of our nervous system. Our nervous system responds to the world around us but we can take action, such as touching our own skin or regulating the way you walk.
- 13:30 Lying on the ground can give you so much benefit, to feel the support of the floor to relax you and to connect with your body, to feel more ease.
- 15:00 The society message about being alone to grieve is not helpful. In a supported community way, grief can be shared and processed more naturally.
- 17:30 Working as a student councelor at Irie Dance Theatre company, founded in 1985 by Beverley Green. The bachelor course aim is to promote diversity through dance.
- 18:00 One of the biggest challenges of remote dance councelling was that students did not feel comfortable accessing the service from home. Councelling is private and you don’t anyone to hear the session.
- The second lockdown being so much easier, where students had accepted remote sessions and had found their own way to make it work. Some sat in cars, people found creative ways of coping.
- 20:00 Observing dance students and seeing that they still have the same challenges as before the pandemic, but now they also had this locked down situation to deal with.
- Many students questioned their career path due to being trapped in hospitality careers while studying, while waiting to dance as a group again.
- 21:30 The approach to trying to help students to deal with their doubting of their career choices. Giving them space and asking them to remember back to why they chose this path in the first place. To reconnect with the fun and happiness that dance used to give.
- Reconnect with the happiness and joy that led you to a current choice and path, see how that feels in your body and posture and then ask yourself what is now stopping you to keep that hope and direction in place.
- 23:30 The many inventive ways students tried to make space and to use technology to continue to dance. Using video in the park to make recordings, but not being fans of being online for sure.
- Being able to work to a certain point online, but really preferring to be in person when wanting to really help people.
- 26:10 Advice on how to reconnect with yourself – whatever you are doing, be really in that moment. Really experience that moment. Feel the clothes on the body. Find something that you enjoy about this moment. Focus on that.
- 28:30 Listen, feel and experience what is going on for you and in your body. Sense what is going on around you.
- You have a whole body, so don’t forget certain body parts.
- 29:30 How somatic coaching has helped; A feeling of ease, from feeling really lost to a feeling of inner peace. To be OK, to feel OK within whatever they are experiencing, or however they are feeling. To own your feelings as yours, as something under your control. To give back this feeling of control over self.
- Kimchi and the value of fermented foods
- 33:00 Emotions needs space, to process and for you to get through it. If you ignore it, it is going to come back.
- It is important to stay with it, to stay with emotions until they go.
- 34:30 What can we all do, in order to help our loved ones? Invite them to try some of the things you also do (e.g. standing tall, breathing deeply), so they can try it out together. Experience it together.
- 36:00 What is dance movement therapy? Using dance as a way to express emotions, to express in movement how you feel. This can tell us way more than words. Our muscles can bring things up we have forgotten. With movement, as we change position, we begin movement internally.
- Jonathan’s mum as a Child Psychologist, realising that he was very shy. She booked him into Stagecoach drama classes and then to dance classes on a weekly basis. This got him out of his shell and really helped.
- Dance helping me too find my identity as a woman. To accept my body, my identity and being seen.
- 43:00 As a woman, there being a moment when my body started to change. I couldn’t process it yet, but I found others noticing, I started to feel shame and to hide. I started to hide my shape. Dance helped me to find a safe way to show it in an appropriate and protected way.
- Having clients who after many years, struggling to wear a business costume and to “be pretty”, both men and women.
- Gregorian House Hotel and starting as a waitress, learning and becoming supervisor and F&B manager. Implementing a free program of health and wellbeing for all the staff. This leading to a Head of People role – looking after employee wellbeing.
- 49:00 Helping the team to handle difficult situations and also to facilitate the discussion between Management and the Team. I see both needs and expectations, and then try to help each see the others’ perspective.
- Head of People as finding a balance between the needs of the team and the needs of the business, to run for a profit.
- 52:00 Who do I most look up to in the world? My mum. She is a single mum, who has written books and is a doctor of psychology. She always fights for what is right for her. There is this energy and this unstoppable being about her.
- Book – At the pond swimming by the Hampstead ladies. Short stories about the experience of being at that pond.
- My research project: Moving pieces (by Charlie Blowers), investigating the approach in supporting people living with disabilities. A long-term project.
- Project: Moving Pieces
- Eszter’s website
Logo and concept by Christy O’Connor