An interview with Dance Movement Psychotherapist and Mental Wellness Consultant, Irene Anggreeni

Navigating life with a whole lot more confidence and being at peace with the past.

Having the privilege to help others on their healing path. 


It’s immeasurable. 


I remember that small girl that was me – withdrawn, shy, often doubting herself – not in her wildest dream did she imagine that this could be her path now. 


This is it. And this is also not it.

I have the feeling that my biggest achievement is yet to come.


3. What’s the biggest result you help your clients to achieve?  


Imagine having an invisible ball and chain shackled to your ankle. Day by day, going about your life feels challenging. You try to do your best and carry on with dignity. But frustration is there. Anger too. Perhaps even shame, believing that there’s something wrong with you. There’s an invisible force weighing you down, holding you back. Life is in survival mode. 


You would want to release yourself from that burden, wouldn’t you?


When we are holding on to our emotional wounds, it feels as if we’re stuck with that ball and chain. This emotional trauma, if we are not aware of it, makes us behave unhealthily in our relationships, with ourselves and others.


Clients I work with typically have complex trauma. In itself, ‘trauma’ may seem a taboo word that not everyone relates to. But it’s actually more commonplace than one may imagine. Thanks to the work of Gabor Mate, Bessel van der Kolk, Peter Levine among others, we understand more and more how unresolved trauma can be impacting our daily lives. It can be so subtle that we may not be aware of it!


Quite a few of my clients have gone through therapies or coaching. They understand a lot on the intellectual level. They have read books on trauma, personal development, and various other wellbeing topics. And they are looking for ways to cope, and to answer the question “Why am I still feeling stuck?”.


To actually create change in their life is the biggest challenge. The big win of my clients is the transformation in their self-beliefs. This is massive. That transformation will create ripples in their lifetime and in the people around them. This shows in how they perceive themselves; how they communicate their thoughts, feelings, and ideas; how they make choices; how they lead their life.


This was the case with one particular client. Before working with me, she had had various therapy, including EMDR. She was dealing with emotional rollercoasters and also anger and shame around her trauma. We had the opportunity to work through this, also in the group setting. From having her emotional wounds seen and acknowledged, we co-developed healthier ways involving the body and creative expression to move through these intense emotions and release the trauma. As a result, she learned to trust herself again! This brought about empowerment – confidence that is authentic. One that includes the courage to be vulnerable at times. Embodying “I exist unapologetically” has been at the core of her transformation. This mind-body shift has strengthened the foundation of her professional identity as a transformational coach and wellness entrepreneur.

Video testimonial from client Emma: )

4. What would be your biggest piece of advice for readers who want to achieve the same?  

Start looking deep inside yourself. 

Start listening to your emotions more. 

Get out of your head. Come home into your body.

Our body has so much wisdom.

It remembers our experiences. Our emotions, intuition and creativity are “housed” in the body. We often look for answers outside, but we have all the answers within.

Instead of suppressing, lean in and observe what you feel at this moment. 

If your body could speak, what would it say? What do you need right at this moment?

This is the first step to spark that transformation.

Self-care, kindness, compassion are your friends on the journey.

As you move forward on your path, know that there’s no shame in asking for help.

Be proactive, create and maintain your support system. 

Discover the people who make your tribe, hold safe spaces with them to share with each other.

This is key towards sustainable success and thriving.

Start normalizing all these true gifts in your life. You deserve it!


5. What are the biggest mistakes you see people make and how can they be avoided?  

The first biggest mistake, that I fell into the trap years ago, is not prioritizing self-care. “I have no time for this” or “Yeah, but only after I’m done with this project” are things I often hear from people. The capability to power through and achieve is important. However, it shouldn’t be the only mode we know. Because otherwise, we would be running straight to burnout!

Caring for our long-term health and wellbeing is not a secondary, optional, nice-to-have thing. Our lifestyle, how we manage stress, how we make moment-to-moment choices for our wellbeing… are mandatory for our productivity. Include a lot of self-care moments and compassion in your plan for success. 

So, make time. Create space in your agenda. Start saying no to what doesn’t nourish you. And start with the smallest thing you can do right now to give love to yourself.

Secondly, I want to emphasize that intellectual knowledge is not complete without the wisdom of our bodies. I observe that for some people, their “comfort zone” is in their minds through continual learning and absorbing information. If that’s you, my honest question is, “Could this be a block from doing the work?”. Someone can keep piling knowledge from reading or attending courses etc but may struggle to take a single step towards change.

So, start seeing yourself as a whole being – body, mind, soul. And start embodying what you know and take conscious action – consistently. Integrate that intellectual knowing into your life – gently. Diligent practice is your way to get there. This will be much easier when you embrace the body as your ally. 

Luana Ribeira

Luana Ribeira is a best selling author, international speaker and host of business Innovators Radio.