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Dance Therapy Helps Move Past Grief


Holistic Practitioner Spotlight with Dr. Birgitte Tan

We are speaking with Dr. Birgitte Tan, a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, Certified Life Mastery Consultant and Diplomate ACVIM (Oncology)

Tell Us a Story About  a Patient or Client Suffering From Grief and How Dance Therapy Helped

Penelope (name has been changed) had complicated grief from cumulative grief (grief overload) as well as disenfranchise grief (grief downplayed or overlooked by others) for over 40 years.  She confided that the only reason she had not committed suicide is for her disabled mother for whom she feels more and more resentment to and wishes her mother would die soon.  She revealed that she had not cried since her father left the family 35 years ago. And for 14 years since her divorce, she has lived her life day to day feeling numb like a zombie. 

Penelope had been a participant in many healing methods that included hypnosis, counseling, meditation, and grief groups. However, the grief she experienced seemed elusive to all these and her symptoms increased.

Most recently, she started to have panic attacks and worsening of her insomnia.  Her psychotherapist wanted her to again try meditation. This had the opposite desired effect since it only caused more restlessness and anger for Penelope, and made her feel like a failure each time she couldn’t tolerate a meditation session.  

Dance Therapy had a Different Effect on Grief

For Penelope, I utilized Dance Away Sadness: Move Beyond Your Grief™ (DAS), a grief support community that uses free-style dance to help us let our feelings flow and have more peace of mind. This was introduced along side grief coaching and life mastery coaching, as well as modified meditation techniques. 

Penelope did well with the modified meditation, which was helpful in reducing her panic attacks. At her second Dance Away Sadness: Move Beyond Your Grief™session, emotions surfaced. She started crying which had the effect of making Penelope feel much better. By the third DAS session, her panic attacks and insomnia resolved. It took three months to lift her complicated grief and her resentment. She expressed that she no longer felt like a zombie.

Now, one year from the time she began with DAS, Penelope has joyfully moved herself and her mother, whom she now cherishes, to a different city that she loves. The outcome is that she looks forward to life again.

Why and When Did You Choose the Holistic Path?

I suffered miserably from decades of long grief. In 2014 I went from heartbroken, broke, and sick all the time to living a wonderful life with peace of mind, joy, love, great abundance, and better than ever health.  It took three years for me to learn and master transforming my failures, tragedies and grief into triumphs and thriving joyful living. 

Becoming a Grief Recovery specialist and life success coach was my way of giving back. To be able to share these tools and skills is a gift of living with ease and even with fun that is meant to be shared with those who need it. 

What Lessons Have Your Work and Personal Experiences with Grief Taught You?

There are many, many lessons.  Some of the most important ones are:

  1. Decide you are going to thrive.
  2. Allow support but take responsibility for your recovery.
  3. Do the work required to heal and thrive, knowing that it works if you work it.
  4. Do not give up. With the right guidance and method, healing can be easy and quick.

What Would You Like Your Patients/Clients to Know About Your Services that They May Not be Aware of?

There is a part of grief that words cannot touch.  Freestyle dancing with the appropriate music and coaching such as Dance Away Sadness: Move Beyond Your Grief™ will help you touch and release this part of grief. 

One size does NOT fit all.  If one approach does not help with specific needs, be willing to try a different method and/or a different professional until you find what feels best for you.

Any Additional Comments:

Thank you for allowing to be a part of your great work and share this.


Dr. Birgitte Tan is the founder of From Grieving to Joyful Living Coaching Service and the creator of “Dance Away Sadness: Move Beyond Your Grief” grief support system. Through her work as a veterinary oncologist she learned to understand people and how to help with grief.  Birgitte became a certified Grief Recovery & LifeMastery® Coach so she would be able to help people fully recover from their grief and thrive. She is an author, speaker, and Life Success Coach.

Phone: (805) 864 – 2002
Mailing address:

3835 E Thousand Oaks Blvd no 268
Westlake Village, CA 91362, USA


See other holistic practitioners like Birgitte in our Holistic Health Directory

Andy & Vinny DiLorenzo

About Us

As holistic dentists, we've recommended products and services that supported our patients’ health for decades. In experiencing our own health challenges from mercury toxicity, we worked closely with many natural, alternative, and integrative health practitioners who aided our recovery as well as our patients’. We built this site to provide you with a simple-to-use, comprehensive, informational, and functional resource for your physical, emotional, and spiritual health & well-being.

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