- Mon - Thu 15.30 - 22.00
This past fall, Chrisa and I were honoured to present a workshop on Transformative Tango for Empathic Skill-building at the OACCPP (Ontario Association of Counsellors, Consultants, Psychometrists & Psychotherapists) Conference this past September, 2017. This association is the largest organization of Counsellors and Psychotherapists in Ontario.
We were a little anxious about the whole thing, but the conference staff could not have been more helpful and supportive and, on top of that, the participants who attended were super generous with their feedback and participation. Right from the start, they seemed intrigued by what we were offering and offered many helpful insights and suggestions from their own experience working with clients struggling with relational issues.
Chrisa and I theorize that Tango can provide a fertile environment for learning about oneself and one’s partner at a non-verbal level. By asking participants to switch roles we also believe this will help in the development of empathy (or, the ability to put oneself in the shoes of the other person). We devoted a lot of time to the way in which partners communicate with each other and asked participants for their input on how to do this in a caring and effective way. We collected all of their suggestions and have listed it below:
PRO TIPS FOR GIVING FEEDBACK
PRO TIPS FOR RECEIVING FEEDBACK.
Receiving Feedback can be very challenging, since none of us likes to be criticized and most people are trying as hard as they can. As well, most of us have only a limited idea of what we are doing with our bodies, so although we may think we are giving our partner a clear message, we may not be aware of extraneous body-language that might be giving our partner confusing signals.
Very little attention is given in the literature about how to receive feedback, but it is a skill that deserves more attention. These are some suggestions from the participants .
This last suggestion is perhaps the most important one. I spend a lot of time in my work with couples trying to teach them how to not shut down in shame and anger when their partners try to tell them something about how they experience their relationship. Most people, when they hear criticism, become defensive and try to justify, minimize or defend their problematic behaviour. This just makes things worse.
By translating this process into the need to work together in order to dance Tango, partners learn that, unless they are willing to listen and try to understand the feedback from their partner, the dance cannot happen. It is a concrete representation of what happens in a relationship when we fail to put ourselves in our partner’s shoes (literally) and understand that they are trying to help, not hurt, the process.
We only had three hours to work with our participants and some wanted the workshop to go on longer. I would love to have a whole day to further explore this with a group of participants. Hopefully, we will be able to do this some time in the future.
For more information go to www.transformative-tango.com
To read my paper on this subject go to https://issuu.com/oaccpp/docs/psy_42.2_summer_-_fall