Tango lesson

– Igor, can I make an appointment with you?

Time, place, everything’s agreed.

– Come on in. Do you need to change clothes?

Surprised look.

– What for?

Indeed, the dress is light.

– Have you got changeable shoes?

Extremely suspicious puzzled look.

– But is it really necessary?

Well, it’s dry outside, in sneakers are OK too.

– Let’s just walk to the music.

Confusion on the verge of horror. This happens. So we start.

– Do not rush. There will be more contact If you pretend to be lazy and slow-witted.

The second tune. A great walk in general.

– Can I ask? Are you Igor?

– Well yes. Keep all your feet on the floor.


… And you are … this … not this … are you here for tango lesson?  Or therapy … Right now. I’ll bring chairs …

– Nooo! Keep going!

Scheduling tango lessons and therapy appointments is easy. Only a blue haze quietly flows from ears. But in general it’s easy.

c) Igor Zabuta, psychotherapist; https://izabuta.com/en/

Narcissistic existential loneliness

Once I was deeply impressed by the words of Irvin Yalom about loneliness, existential isolation.

“The impassable gap between individuals”, “we enter life alone and leave it alone,” “each of us exists in our own world, the laws of which only we know ourselves,” “Existential loneliness is associated with the loss of … the whole world … This the world does not exist anywhere else – only in our consciousness.”

Beautiful. And deeply narcissistic, quite in the spirit of that era in psychotherapy.

The gap between people is not only passable; the personality itself “happens” at the moment of passing it. We do not come to this world lonely, not even just with the other person, but inside the other person. We do not exist in our own world, but in the field.

Consciousness – only a small descriptive part. “I cannot not exist without Thou”
It is interesting how concepts and beliefs change painlessly into polar ones depending on needs.

Psychotherapy as a dance

For me, comparison of psychotherapy to a dance is not figurative. My psychotherapy consultations are interspersed with tango lessons. Sometimes I need an effort to remember where I am and keep the format.

Sometimes a certain therapeutic problem would be more appropriate to solve by dancing. Borders, contact, sensitivity, focus of attention, intimacy, dependence and autonomy – all this you feel bodily in tango, you can observe and experiment. Sometimes I understand that to solve a problem in tango you need to sit on chairs.

As a psychotherapist, I usually feel like a tango-follower. To listen to the client, to be present, relaxed and alert, steady, attentive and ready for any movement. Let the client feel that I hear and understand him, but not move until I feel enough energy (“be present and do nothing”). Gently resist each movement to maintain contact. And only when there is enough energy and contact density, move with the client, interpret the music in the framework specified by him. I think the expression “active following” is very suitable for describing this role.

The role of the leader is sometimes more appropriate: the one who provides support for the client and sets the structure. Listens to music (context), feels the state of the client and decides which figure to lead to. He suggests, but does not start the movement, until he receives consent and knows that the two have enough resources to begin and complete the planned step, safely, conveniently and gracefully. Attentive to the wishes of the client, ready to provide a space, time and support for self-expression. And if the client has enough energy, ready to return to the role of a follower.

For me, both tango and therapy solve two common problems. First: bring more improvisation and spontaneity to the client’s dance. Relieve tension, diversify the structure, show that there are no mistakes. Second: to help the client convert his solo dance into pair dance. Express yourself through the other, stay between You and Me. I see both tasks as two facets of one aspiration – “self-expression in relationships” – a pair dance where each one is natural and attentive to oneself, to the other, to the music of life and to pairs around.

Short therapy session

A client left the city to spend just one day at the seaside with his beloved wife and the dog. Being responsible he calls me.

– Don’t know what to focus on today.

– What would you like to do?

– Come back to them to the beach.

– So do it!

– And what about therapy?

– There is your therapy.

Guys, your best therapy it there!


Love to something inanimate, abstract, nonpersonal, is an illusion. Love to your home, own business, to poetry, mathematics or tango is an expression of love to some human. There is always some human there for whom, with whom, due to whom. This human fills the inanimate with energy, warmth, color, light and sense.