“Dance requires mental flexibility, resilience, and a strong sense of self to navigate the successes, rejections, and losses of a dancer’s career. A dancer’s potential for injury, the aesthetic nature of dance, and the social isolation, competition, reliance on external feedback, and early specialization that comprise many dancers’ experiences can leave those dancers vulnerable to numerous mental health concerns.
‘Given the unique stressors of the dance field, it is crucial that dancers build stress management skills, emotional awareness, and routines of self-care that will sustain them throughout the trajectory of their careers. By expanding and prioritizing the mental health support available to dancers and opening conversations around mental health, dance companies and communities have an opportunity to better equip dancers to perform at their full potential and thrive in all areas of their lives.”
Catherine Drury, LCSW, is a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in supporting dancers through injury, stress, burnout, and career change. At her Manhattan-based private practice, Catherine treats adolescents and young adults with eating disorders, anxiety, and histories of trauma using cognitive behavioral and evidence-based treatment modalities. She also delivers workshops and lectures to the American Ballet Theatre JKO School and Studio Company, The Ailey School, and the Princeton Ballet School, fostering resilience and emotional intelligence among pre-professional dance students. In partnership with organizations such as The Actors Fund, Gibney Dance, and Dance/NYC, Catherine empowers dancers and dance communities to better care for themselves, navigate change, and obtain the guidance and resources they need at all stages of their dance careers. She has published on her work with injured dancers, presented at the Association for Applied Sport Psychology Annual Conference, and contributed to articles in Dance Magazine and Dance Informa Magazine. Catherine has a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University and is currently pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology at Fairleigh Dickinson University, where her training and research is dedicated to eating disorder treatment and athletic performance enhancement for dancers.
Catherine is a member of the Okay, Let’s Unpack This Clinical Advisory Board.