Past speakers – Interview with Signe M. Hegestand

Signe M. Hegestand was one of the 11 inspiring speakers who took to our stage to share ideas worth spreading at TEDxAarhus 2019. 

She is an authorized Psychologist, Psychotherapist and Mindfulness Instructor. In her work, she has been focusing on psychologically abusive relations for the last 5 years, because – as she says: “psychological violence is overlooked, destructive and destroying”. Last autumn she published a book, “Psykisk vold – sådan kommer du videre” (Psychological violence – how to move on), about moving on after a psychologically violent relationship. 

We called Signe for a chat about her TEDxAarhus journey and what she has been up to since delivering her TEDx Talk. 

Can you tell us about your overall experience at TEDxAarhus last year? 

It all started when one of my employees encouraged me to send an application to speak at TEDxAarhus 2019. And so I did! 

Back then I was writing on my book so it was the perfect timing to apply and potentially share my research at a platform like TEDx. 

Then what happened? 

I was really lucky and got called to an interview to discuss my ideas for a TEDx Talk.

Before the interview, I thought about how I would like to deliver my ideas and thoughts, how I would structure my speech and make my points easily understood by an audience. Basically, what my narrative was going to be like.

So the process for me was to go from idea to execution. 

I didn’t want to just talk about something that had already been said by others. I wanted to offer something new within my field of research. I wanted to present a new perspective.

That sounds very exciting. What happened next?

Then I was invited to a speaker workshop at Dokk1. At the workshop, I was forced to get out of my comfort zone. It was really challenging but I also learned a lot.

Overall, it was an awesome day! I got a lot of input and inspiration from the other speakers. People were really generous in sharing their knowledge and ideas.

Our Curation team runs a number of these speaker workshops in the lead-up to our main event. Can you tell us how you found this process?

All of the workshops were so intense but in the best way possible… It’s really all about putting yourself out there, being authentic and real in front of an audience. For some of us, these talks are very personal.

But it was really interesting and the whole team and the other speakers were great. There was no competition between us whatsoever. We all wanted each other to be the best possible speaker. The dynamic was amazing. We supported and helped each other along the way. Overall it was a really unique experience.

How was your experience at the main event? 

I got really nervous before my talk… So, initially, I wasn’t happy about my performance on stage. But then something happened afterwards that changed my perception of the whole thing.

And what was that? 

After (my talk), I attended the Speakers’ Lounge. In the lounge area, a lot of people approached me and wanted to talk to me.

And at that moment I realized that it didn’t matter that my talk wasn’t perfect because I still accomplished what I wanted to. It had touched people, made people reflect about their own relationships and sparked a conversation.  

I wanted to make people curious about this topic and think about their own behavior patterns in their lives and relationships. And I succeeded in this, which makes me very happy. 

What do you hope that the audience learned from your talk?

Everybody has certain behavior patterns that impact their lives and relationships. This is not groundbreaking news within my field of research. But I wanted to communicate this to a broader audience and make them reflect on which behavior patterns affect them in their everyday life. 

So my ambition was to spark a conversation about this topic. 

How did the audience respond to your talk?

The response was really good. A lot of people approached me afterwards to talk further about the topic. Some people even thanked me.  

Can you tell us a little bit about what has happened in your life since TEDxAarhus 2019 and what projects you are currently working on? 

I have worked on some interviews and I will be featured in a documentary about psychological violence. It will be aired on TV2 but the release date is not final yet. 

Watch Signe’s talk, titled “Psychological abuse – caught in harmful relationships”.