Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Tango Effect--5 years later

Tango Therapist's 5th Birthday
Today my blog is five years old.  Also this week I will have posted 300 little pieces of my passion for tango.  Around five years ago, I discovered something that has transformed me, and it wasn't tango itself.

The Tango Effect
Tango had transformed the way I understood the patient/therapist relationship about three years after I started dancing tango better than salsa. I learned about "the tango effect" from so often--too often--hearing women say, "Wow, you led me to do things I never have done before."  I kept hearing this, and still do, but at the time I was startled because, I was feeling many women were (and still are) leading me to places I had never gone before.  I started calling these misunderstood tango roles as "the tango effect."

This "tango effect" in a therapeutic session is the energy between two people in conversation which causes some measure of transformation.  The Effect often transforms both people.  Patients and therapists alike, I believe, fail to recognize the true source of transforming energy and that both are recipients.  Socrates may have gotten more out of a discourse than his disciple.  I certainly got more out of reading children's books than my sons did because they don't even remember much of the many hours of our reading together.  But I do, and it makes me who I am today.  I often am quite sure that I was more transformed in a therapy session than the patient.  Parents understand.  Socrates would understand.

The power of the Three M's:  The Music (as leader), the Movement of dance (as the epicenter of our humanity), and the eMbrace (as the uniting of Yin/Yang or male/female energies) have the potential for creating therapeutic transformation.  But that does not happen often.  If a woman thinks that a leader has transformed her dance, she is disempowered.  If a therapist believes that he has lead a patient to transformation, he may not recognize his own transformation.  So the Tango Effect is a fragile energy that diminishes or even disappears if it is not acknowledged as the power of two uniting.  Strangely enough, the tango effect doesn't happen very often even in tango!  If the brain frames holy things as profane, then they are profane:

  •  Tango requires a leader and a follower. 
  •  Tango is only an addiction.
  • Social tango a kind of elitist dance, requiring hugging to traditional music while keeping your feet on the ground.  
  • Tango is just a hobby. 
  • Tango is a vertical expression of horizontal desire.
  • Tango ruins couples because of jealousy.  
  • Tango is a technical dance requiring that one spend every spare dime to learn or to do it right, sell everything and move to Argentina.  

Tango is profane although intense if that is how you prefer to frame it.  But tango is none of the above.

For me tango has guided me to understand the holy things all around me.  Tango made me a beginner again as a musician, tutoring me and making all things new.  Tango has awakened the poet in me, the writer.  The "tango effect" has allowed me to sense the profundity of healing in my professional office has everything to do with the synthesis of energy between two people, and less to do with my professional role and skill set.  Far from profane or even therapeutic, tango has helped me discover many new streets and alleyways in heaven.  There's a new street to discover every time I dance with another soul who will join me.

If this were my last post, at least I have told you, dear reader, why tears are in my eyes as I write many of my posts.  I have experienced the divine, and you have been so kind as to accompany me along the way.  Thank you.


  1. That was beautiful!

  2. Belated happy anniversary, Tango Therapist! I hope you'll enjoy another wonderful year of dancing and reflection!

  3. This is beautiful, Mark!! It's as though you opened your soul to us. I am more motivated than ever to learn to tango and perhaps share this spiritual experience.
    Thank you,


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