Anxiety and Stress Management – APN Lodge Speaker Series with Dr. Constance Clancy and Ryan Soave, Program Director, APN Coaching
All right. Dr Constance Clancy: All right.
Dr Constance Clancy: Ready? Okay. Hi, my name is Dr. Constance Clancy, and I’m a psychotherapist in Aspen Colorado. I came here about five years ago, started fresh from Sanibel Island, Florida; where I have been practicing for 30 years.
Ryan Soave: Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your practice?
Dr. Constance Clancy: All right. I practice adult psychotherapy for the most part, although I do see some adolescents. And, my specialty is stress management and overcoming trauma. And, I’ve just completed a book, and it is called In the Nick of Time, Rising to Resilience from the Depths of Betrayal. And, it’s about overcoming narcissistic abuse. It’s my own story, and from a clinician’s perspective as well. And, I have a book on stress management and the gift of change.
Ryan Soave: Oh, wow. That’s really great. So, how do you approach trauma
Dr. Constance Clancy: The main thing I use is eye movement, desensitization and reprocessing, EMDR. And, I’ve been using that since 1996 and I find it to be incredibly effective. Anybody who’s come back from war or if they’ve been in a motor vehicle accident or they’ve had sexual abuse or whatever traumas they’ve come in to see me for we’ve done EMDR. Sometimes it takes one session and sometimes it takes four or five, but we always see results.
Well, that’s great. Yeah. I’ve trained in EMDR too, one of several of our clinicians here, are trained in that.Dr. Constance Clancy: Wonderful.
Ryan Soave: And really also, how we look at the… Especially in our trauma program, how we look at it, is really, we’re not using EMDR with everybody; but how we conceptualize a case, and all of that is very similar, to how it’s conceptualized before you get into the actual tool.
Dr. Constance Clancy: Okay. It’s good stuff.
Ryan Soave: So you said, the population you’re working with, what’s kind of specific things around stress, are you coming across most these days.
Dr. Constance Clancy: I’m finding a lot of anxiety disorders. I see a lot of 20 something, 30 something-year-olds, and they’re seekers. They’re really trying to find what their life purpose is. And, living in a resort area, so often, these people are not really sure what their purpose is. So, they might be working in bars, they might be getting into substance abuse, they’re in relationships that aren’t working for them. So, they’re coming in with a lot of anxiety trying to decide, what do I need to be doing with my life.
Dr. Constance Clancy: And so, we start with a family of origin, finding out where they came from, how long they felt this way; and basically, what they want to be able to find for a good, healthy balance in their lives. So, I use a lot of work, I use a mandala, and work with them on healthy mind, body, spirit, and emotions; and I take a very holistic approach in helping them reduce their anxiety. And, I also use hypnotherapy, and they seem to really like that. And, just help them with mindfulness, and understanding that living in the present, and not focusing so much on the past or the future that brings on their anxiety, can really help them reduce their anxiety, and be better overall in terms of wholeness and balance in their lives.
Ryan Soave: Oh wow, that’s great. In your stress management practice, what are some of your favorite tools that you like to have them use, when they leave your office?
Dr. Constance Clancy: Breathwork. I have them start out with daily gratitude every morning, and just being grateful for what they do have, and taking a few deep, relaxing breaths before they even get out of bed; and just set the tone for the day. And, maybe even read some little inspirational work, so that they know that, they can start the day feeling less anxious. Because the brain doesn’t seem to turn off for them.
Ryan Soave: Yeah. A lot of the work that we do here, especially in our intensive program is, there’s a lot of work around the breath.
Dr. Constance Clancy: Yes. It is so important.
Ryan Soave: One of my teachers said a long time ago, “If you want to change your mind, change your breath.”
Dr. Constance Clancy: I love that.
Ryan Soave: And, if you’re in a survival state, which is what stress is; it’s going into survival mode when you don’t need to be in survival mode, chances are we’re not breathing these full deep breaths. And, our mind has been tricked into saying, “You’re in danger.” So, you breathe like that. And, I think when we are able to take those long, deep breaths, and activate the parasympathetic nervous system; we trick our brain into or seeing the reality that we’re safe.
Dr. Constance Clancy: Absolutely.
Ryan Soave: We might not like what we’re in, but we’re safe, and we can then handle the emotions.
Dr. Constance Clancy: One moment at a time.
Ryan Soave: Yeah. I think what we do is, at least… I don’t think we can write a book about calling it this, I don’t know if anyone would read it, but I think what we do is really try to teach people how to feel bad. So, that they…
Dr. Constance Clancy: And, we want to be able to teach people how to feel good.
Ryan Soave: Right. But, to deal with the difficulties of life, and not make choices that are going to hurt them or themselves.Dr. Constance Clancy: I know.
Ryan Soave: So, tell me about what are your favorite mindfulness practices?
Dr. Constance Clancy: Well, I’m trained in mindfulness-based stress reduction, under Jon Kabat-Zinn from, Oh the year 2000. And, that was very life-changing for me, because I tended to have a lot of anxiety myself. And, once I went to the program and took the course, I started really practicing it in my own life. And, once I became used to, that’s a daily practice for me; then I thought, “Well, why not help my clients with this?” And of course now, 20 years later, mindfulness, even though it’s a buzzword, it really does work. And, Jon really stressed the evidence-based research behind it. The program started out at the University of Massachusetts, Medical Center. And, I think corporations, and businesses, and schools, and even elementary schools; they’ve started mindfulness programs. And, that’s so wonderful to see, that people who are adhering to it are noticing that their lives are so much better and calmer. So, the practice I use is the MBSR program with my clients. And, I use hypnotherapy, because it’s really relaxed, focused concentration. And, I love using that, because of the clients… I record it. And, they have their sessions to take with them. And, I say, “Play this, when you get up in the morning, or before you go to bed, just not while driving.” And, they find that it does have a cumulative impact on the subconscious mind. And, they have really benefited from that as well, in reducing their anxiety, sleeping better, having better optimal health and wellness, overall.Ryan Soave: So, you mentioned having a practice yourself.
Dr. Constance Clancy: Yes.
Ryan Soave: How did that impact you as a clinician, and how you work with others, in taking that practice on yourself? If you don’t mind me asking.
Dr. Constance Clancy: Sure. Well, because it helped me so much in terms of reducing my own anxiety. I decided that it’s…
Ryan Soave: Do therapists have anxiety?
Dr. Constance Clancy: Hey, we teach what we need to learn. Right? [crosstalk 00:07:22] That’s the old saying, we teach what we need to learn.
Dr. Constance Clancy: Every morning, I do my meditation practice. And, the one thing I want to emphasize about that, it does not have to be half an hour, or an hour, it can be a few moments of just calming the mind, calming the body, and not being out in the future. Because that’s what brings on the anxiety. So, that was a real catalyst for me. And, I wanted to go into my sessions, certainly asking for guidance before each session, that I can be the best I can be in working with clients, and also being calm. And, if they can sense my energy as being calm and whole if you will; then that might be a good projection onto them that, you know what, it’s not that bad. We really can find solutions to all of our worries. And so, I wanted to be instrumental in their lives by being a good example, and a role model.
Ryan Soave: And, it adds to the safety, for sure.
Dr Constance Clancy: There you go. Absolutely.
Ryan Soave: And, I love what you said about, it doesn’t have to be 30 minutes. I think that’s such a thing that, is a bar for entry for people in mindfulness practices. One of the things that I teach in our workshops is, go outside and take breathing breaks like people took smoke breaks. I mean, a minute at a time, two minutes at a time, there’s a cumulative effect, and it can help reorient you, and just bring you back to the center.
Dr. Constance Clancy: Just that walking meditation.
Ryan Soave: That’s right. Yeah. So, is there one last thing or things, that you’d like to tell us about yourself, or your experience here, or what you’re doing in the world?
Dr. Constance Clancy: Well, thank you. Moving from Southwest Florida was a huge energy shift for me. But, I’m a hiker, and I love the seasons. So, it really suits me living in the Aspen area, and going on those hikes. I have two yellow Labradors, and we go hiking, as much as I possibly can. And, they absolutely love it, and it gives them a lot of longevity too.
Dr. Constance Clancy: And, I have really found that this area is conducive to my health and wellbeing. And, I think I’ve even become more holistic just through my own living experience here. And as I mentioned earlier, I just completed a book, and it should be out this spring, In the Nick of Time, Rising to Resilience from the Depths of Betrayal. And, it’s all about people who have been betrayed, and it goes back to early on in life; and how we repeat those experiences in our adult lives, and to help people to learn to become resilient, and knowing that you can heal after betrayal.
Ryan Soave: Well, thank you very much. And, we’re going to need some copies of your book here for our clients. Thank you very much, and thank you for joining us today.
Dr. Constance Clancy: Thanks so much.Ryan Soave: You’re welcome.