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Terms like ‘anxiety’ and ‘trauma’ can feel like an identity - sometimes, it’s hard to imagine a life beyond the grips of these daily struggles. If you’ve felt like this, too, this episode is for you. Hailey Kanigan is on a mission to help us all live with purpose and stop defining ourselves by our anxiety.
This episode explores the mind-body connection by demystifying hot topics such as EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing) and how important meeting our physical needs is to our mental health. Barb and Hailey help us understand the “Window of Tolerance” concept with practical steps to reduce baseline anxiety and regulate our emotions.
Hailey Kanigan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology, a Masters of Arts in Counseling Psychology, and is an EMDR Therapist.
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Disclaimer: Therapy Talks does NOT provide medical services or professional counseling, and it is NOT a substitute for professional medical care.
[00:00:00] Barb Egan: Hi everyone. It's Barb Egan from therapy talks with switch research, and on today's show, we have guest, Hailey Kanigan, a therapist from Kelowna, British Columbia, and we get to talk on, anxiety and purpose using a top-down approach. So going to the cognitive side and a bottom up approach, meaning utilizing our body and using skills like that, like meditation, connecting the mind and body making sure physical needs are.
Such as eating well, sleeping nutrition and how that impacts on our mind and our state. We also talk on the window of tolerance. So understanding our limits and managing them and not defining ourselves by our anxiety or any of those labels that we can put on ourselves. And then finally, we talk about EMDR, a very trendy topic in therapy these days, and what that looks like, what are some strategies and really demystifying. So we look forward to having you on our show today, Hailey and please, join us in welcoming her
So Haley, you're a therapist in Kelowna. Tell us a little bit about you, what you like to work in, how you even got into therapy.
[00:01:10] Hailey Kanigan: Yeah, for sure. I think like, my family has always been very socially minded, so both my parents were probation officers. My sister became a social worker. I was like, I know I wanted to go to school. I know I want to do something helpful, to the world. And I didn't quite sure what that would be. I thought I might be a librarian or these, all these different professions. And so I ended up doing a bachelor's of sociology and psychology, and then I was like, oh, Now what? So I actually worked in banking, so that was quite interesting.
So I did corporate banking and I worked with all the executives. I was an executive assistant, so I've had a really interesting few years in my early twenties doing that. And so that was really interesting, but I was still very much determined to get into the healthy professional of some sort. So looking inward, I was like, I don't really feel super comfortable being in peoples touching people's bodies and like being in that way.
So that eliminated a lot of different roles in the health care sector. And so throughout my degree, I was always very interested in the world. The individual, the self. And so I was like, you know I think I should just, I literally flipped the coin and I was like, if I flipped the right way, I'm going to go and do my masters.
So while I was working at the bank, I pursued my graduate degree in counseling psychology, and I've just been hooked. I love it a lot. it's been really interesting experience. And so, yeah, I live in West Kelowna and I find that the demographic that. Really enjoyed and really resonates with me as women with anxiety.
So women with anxiety, they gravitate towards me and I'm like, yes, I can help people. I get that. I understand that. And I find a lot of the, younger adults really gravitate towards me. So I kind of fit that relate-ability per se. And then, so that would be like one main portion of the practice. And the other main portion is the trauma work. So I do a lot of EMDR as well.
[00:02:56] Barb Egan: Okay. So I want to unpack both of those because those are, I would say my, the thing that I see the most of is anxiety in my practice and then at the, like at the university level. So like the next gen, the next generation that's coming up. Number one thing by far. Anxiety, anxiety, anxiety.
And I think it hits, I mean, anxiety hits every single person differently, but you're like, you're right. There's something about women too. And I think at times, like maybe we're more susceptible or we just talk about it more if we do. and I just, I love that. You've really noticed that and like, yeah, like a little shepherd of, Hey, come here, you're safe here.
And trauma can go hand in hand. So let's, maybe let's unpack the anxiety first. Cause that's a common one that most of us see or experience. And then there's the trauma piece. And especially EMDR, because that is trendy. I have two therapists on my team that just solely do EMDR therapy. That is all they like to do.
and so many people are like, they're learning more about it. And so to unpack that, so, going from corporate banking to masters in counseling, psychology, getting out and practicing, and anxiety. Kind of what you see, what kind of demographic, like you said, but then what kind of approaches do you like to use?
[00:04:11] Hailey Kanigan: I just feel like with every client, the first step is always awareness. And then the second step is wrangling the emotion, because if we can't manage our emotions, we can't go deeper and really get into some other. Right.
[00:04:22] Barb Egan: Yeah. That's such a good point. Like that was like a light bulb. You're like, oh yeah, that makes sense.
If I'm not aware of it and I can't really manage it, then no wonder I can't go deeper. And we're walking around with such low emotional intelligence or a lot of people I hear, you know, I want to process this or, I feel like I should be processing this, but I don't even know how. And, I'm, I'm a supervisor with the university, so I oversee the graduate students.
Thousands of university students. And that is what we hear on repeat. And so we, our team was reading this book called coddling, the American mind by Malcolm Gladwell. And it's all on that. Like why this age group kind of, 1995 and older is really just struggling so much with identity and anxiety and inability to emotionally regulate yourself.
And yeah, we did a talk. well ed, we he's who I supervised with and we, we had him. For the first podcast, but he talked on if 21 is the new 14 and like how emotional regulation skills are so important and we're not really learning them. And yeah, it's, it's huge. So I just, I think that's such a valuable tool
[00:05:29] Hailey Kanigan: For sure. I really like to go from the site via what I need a person or a client. So what will best resonate with them? Are they more of a top-down approach, which would be the cognitive practices, the challenging of thoughts, really much those awareness pieces, everything that's internal from the mental piece, like in the, in the thoughts, or are they a bottom up approach?
Do they need more body-based stuff such as like meditation, yoga movements or the EMDR, for example. So I find that a lot of, young women who come in and gravitate towards me, they come in there and they're sharing what's going on. And I just go, do you mind if I just throw out an idea and see if this resonates, they're like, okay.
I'm like, I know this is the first time I met you, but I'm like, do you feel as though your anxiety would decrease, if you knew who you were and what you were meant to. And they're like, yes, it's it's that identity piece because a lot of that anxiety and circling in that university stage or early adulthood is who am I?
What am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to feel self-empowered how am I supposed to be self-actualized how am I supposed to afford a home in the Okanogan ? Do this or whatever it may be. And so a lot of it is linked to that confidence, self esteem, self identity, and that's where all of those, like psychological symptoms, like racing thoughts, the increased heart rate, all of the symptoms of anxiety seem to increase.
And so I find that like that is generally like the key to unlocking it. So then I tell them, okay, this is what I think we should do. Number one, that's great awareness for your experience. Number two, let's learn how to regulate it and let's figure. Why on a deeper basis, you don't feel like you know who you are. Right? And I kind of bring a lot of women through that process and that seems to give them a lot of relief.
[00:07:09] Barb Egan: Amazing. So, I would love to hear that process, cause, I think at one point or another, who doesn't wonder. Who am I what's my purpose. And if we knew that if we were living more life on purpose, our anxiety just naturally decreases. And, and so I would love to hear one what you do with those women. those are all of us, like maybe there's some take home tools, but you, I just wanted to touch on that top down. So the cognitive or the bottom up approach to the body and connecting the mind and body. I love that. Are there any. Telltale signs, like when someone walks in to talk to you or if you're doing it online, how do you know, like how do you help them connect? Like what is going to be the best approach for you?
[00:07:50] Hailey Kanigan: I think that for number one is acknowledging any stigmas they have, because sometimes if I say let's do meditation, they're like, oh, that's so hokey.
Or like, they have a little bit of, a negative judgment on it. And so then I go, okay, let's, let's go into a thought based approach. I kind of explain like a cognitive fast skill of like challenging your thoughts. So they might think like, I can't fit in the social circle, so I go, okay, well, why?
How important will this one social interaction matter for you in five years from now? So I bring them through all of that and they, if they seem to find it helpful for them, then I know that maybe they aligned really well with the cognitive piece. But if they already have that stigma against the meditation, that also pushes them there, but say, if they come in and they go, okay, I'm anxious.
And I noticed, I'm thinking this, this, this I'm like, wow, there's already a lot of cognitive awareness happening. So maybe they need a little bit more of a body-based approach. And I also, with every client. Are your biological needs being met to you? Exercise. Do you eat well? Do you sleep? Like, I think that a lot of times in the psychological field, we really dive into like the psychological or social pieces, but I'm like, we're meant to move.
We're meant to like have a good sleep. We're meant to have good nutrition. So the first few steps are kind of just really listening to the client and seeing how they present themselves. And then also doing that little bit of biological assessment of where they're, if their biological needs to be.
[00:09:10] Barb Egan: Oh, I love that. That is so tangible, but so personal. And it is so true. It's like, and when I describe it like that, most of the time, they're like, well, my doctor says that, like, you know, it's important to eat well and get enough sleep and my body. And I think we maybe overuse it or it just doesn't hold the depth, but you're right. It does. Like when we move our bodies, it required. Our mind and our body, it helps connect the nervous system. So we can actually think straight and regulate our emotions and our thoughts. everything's worse on little sleep do. That's just terrible. And then all of this new research say the last five years in particular, it's like the gut is a second brain. No wonder how nutrition and what you're eating plays a huge role in inflammation and causing increased anxiety or anything like that.
[00:09:53] Hailey Kanigan: So, For sure. It definitely that connection. And I really, I use a lot the infographic from on the window of tolerance. That's like a huge one that I use and I always try and normalize their experience.
I'm like, do you recognize when you're in that volcano stage, that hyperactivity, that hyper arousal. Feels like one little thing is going to set you off and it's just too much in that really high intensity energy. And then we kind of talk about the other and the iceberg, the dissociation, the numbing, or the zoning out. Right. And so I teach them like, you may need different skills for where you are at your life, in that moment or how you're feeling and what we need to do to get activated or to sooth again right.
[00:10:32] Barb Egan: Could you give us an example or kind of walk the listeners through the window of tolerance, because it's such a great tool of, let's say somebody comes in with anxiety, kind of what you're describing, you know, what's my purpose? I don't know what to do. and how would you use that tool?
[00:10:48] Hailey Kanigan: Yeah, for sure. So I'll, for example, I'll give them like a metaphor I'm like, have you ever like had a really bad sleep, you burn your oatmeal and then you get a parking ticket and it's just, that's it, you can't handle it. It's meltdown, even though it's like only $30.
It's not that much, but like, you know, like that's the breaking point. And they said that's because your window has already shrunk because a lot of your needs weren't being met. And now let's add in all the other things that are happening, like financial social relationships. So if your window is really, really small, You can't tolerate very much.
And so it's very likely that you're going to jump over that window into that hyper arousal state, where it's a volcano and you can't handle it when we're in our window we're digesting we're feeling at ease. We feel like we're able to manage things. We feel balance, our nervous systems that are regulated state it's like lifestyle, like at the beach, we just nice and easy and breezy.
Right. And so we want to be in that window, but when it gets really, really small, that's where we jump out of that window. But I also tell them that sometimes that really activated state is too much to handle. So then we flip to the other end of the spectrum where it's like that zoned out iceberg kind of numbing phase, where we can't really feel our feelings time kind of goes missing and that's that really low hypo-arousal state. And so I say to them, it is normal to be able to states and the cycle back and forth between the two. So we're going to need to find the skills and things that really resonate with you to help get you back into your. So I say, if you're a volcano, what do you need? And they go well to cool off. I'm like, exactly.
So we need something that's going to be calming. And I'm like, for example, breathing some nice, slow, deep breaths, right. Or taking a few minutes to sit down and just calm the body. maybe doing some journaling or sometimes exercise can also be a calming thing. If it's a nice, like yoga or a walk or being in nature, it can really, So the other piece that I say is, okay, so if we are an iceberg, what do you need to do?
We need to warm up, right? So we need to get activated back into the window. So we need something that gets our body really more insert windows. So I say that usually the best way to do that is through your senses. So I say that sometimes if we're really. Smell something delicious that will wake you up or a shower of the right temperature.
Or sometimes that high intensity exercise can also be really regulatory. And so I kind of just bring them through that explanation of, we want to be in their window. Right. But those two other states really happen when we are dysregulated and we have too much that we can't handle. And it's normal because every human being can only handle so much.
[00:13:16] Barb Egan: Yes. And every window is a different size too, and our windows can grow and, oh, I love that. The hyper arousal hot, like a volcano. We want to jump out of that window. Hypo, arousal cold like that iceberg. Oh, I love just even that picture and the senses there too. That's oh, that was so good Hailey, thank
[00:13:36] Hailey Kanigan: yeah, for sure! So I always kind of give that because I really ask them, like, so what do you feel like when you're at these two states and really normalized that because a lot of. I have a lot of first time counseling clients and I'm like, I'm going to crack some jokes. I'll warm you up today. It's okay. I want you to be here.
I welcome you, but like really have them understand that like, If you have an experience that anxiety does not mean that you are less than, or if you're experiencing depression, that you were less, that it is an experience of these emotions. It does not mean that you have to fully identify with that label in an unhelpful way.
Right? So I really get them to report their symptoms what they're experiencing, maybe a bit of psycho-education around why it is the way that it is and their nervous system. And that really helps them to connect with this idea that they can have a atonamy over the way that they experience their emotions.
Yes, that's so good. Cause I think that it often is a trendy thing right now of depression or I'm depressed or anxious. I've had someone say, you know, I'm just a naturally anxious person. And I was like, I'm gonna invite you to question that. I don't think you are. I think you're experiencing anxiety, but that does not define you.
[00:14:44] Barb Egan: And, and I love that to use those symptoms, to separate it from yourself. And often again, when you're seeing purpose and worth, when we separate that from our identity and our worth, well, a lot of things can shift them because then we're not defined by that label or by having anxiety or anxious person, but experiencing it. Yes. But once I can name it, then I can tame it, get above it and over it versus feeling underneath it and overwhelmed.
[00:15:10] Hailey Kanigan: Exactly. Exactly. Because like you said, I, I really see, I, I watched TikTok, I watch Instagram reels and they're just people like these laymen, which they're welcome to share their experience, but they're just like, this is what if you have anxiety and this means this and I'm like, whoa, whoa, whoa.
Like I would hate for someone to over label themselves. What if we just switched even the language to an experience of an anxiety? Experience of depression because I'm of the mindset that like, if you have an experience of anxiety does not mean you always have to experience anxiety for your entire life.
[00:15:41] Barb Egan: Right. Absolutely same. And that the brain is like a muscle neuroplasticity is that fancy psychological word. But basically the brain can grow that we may have experienced anxiety say. Going to class. and we would get really nervous, but that does not mean it's actually a cognitive distortion. If we think that every time I go to a class, the rest of my entire university, I will experience anxiety and there can be tools to work through that.
And I think there's so much hope in that, that we're not stuck in that, but I do see it's a fine line in today's culture. Is that enabling or an excusing of it? Or do we actually really do want to get past this? and there, and I, I go to speak to schools about that quite a bit. They have me come in because I see it a lot.
It's like, oh, I'm feeling anxious. So I can't take the test anymore. And I, I. It's such a personalized thing. It's really fine line, but I think there's also tools to get around or get through it, not get around and get through it. and I think it does start with that education piece like you're saying but also, the window of tolerance, that our window is not fixed. It will grow, it can on our circumstances and getting into with what works for us in those strategies.
[00:16:47] Hailey Kanigan: Definitely like, I really liked your point about speaking to the universities and understanding that even though there's anxiety does not mean a person cannot do it, there's a way to manage it. And I think that sometimes that can be a little bit of a testy statement because someone's like, well, then you don't understand how I'm feeling.
And I'm like, well, we have to really navigate that really gently. I want you to feel empowered, to have skills and ways to live your life in the best, most helpful, healthiest, happiest way possible, but like, that's why it's important to recognize that it's not a forever. Right. It doesn't have to be right.
There's a way to manage it. Like I just had a really great success story yesterday. Client i've been seeing since October female demographic university student, and we able to get her anxiety down to a one out of 10, which is low instead of attendant attendance. And when I first saw her, she was like, I'm going have anxiety forever.
It's a 10 out of 10 every day. And through. Work together, self identity, goal, setting, emotional regulation, understanding where that anxiety comes from. She was able to scale well, like she actually joked to me, she's like, I remember you said that, like I could reduce my anxiety and I went home and was like, no way. And then here we are like with that recognition that she could manage it. And so I think part of like, as clinicians, part of our job is to create that. By and through our rapport, through the psychoeducation, through the validation, but also knowing how to gently continue to allow our clients to move forward.
[00:18:13] Barb Egan: So true. Yeah. It's so gentle. Cause there's, it's not a one size fits all and it's not pushed through every time either. Cause that could be traumatic, but it's that gentle nudging. it's kind of like swimming in a pool. You don't just jump right into the deep end and say. Figure it out, you got to get through and it's part of life that would actually be traumatic and probably detrimental, like if they don't know how to swim, but wading into the water, it's starting on the stairs and toe in first and then your foot and wading and gently, usually have a swim instructor, like someone who to guide you and go along side of you. That's kind of my take on mental health for sure.
[00:18:50] Hailey Kanigan: Definitely. Yeah. That gentle approach. And like, I feel like a lot of clients deserve to know that idea that they don't have, have to experience a negative emotion. Like, because when we are in that state, it really is closing in and claustrophobic and hopeless. Right. I think part of our job is to create the hopefulness. Right. So true. Yes. Yes.
[00:19:10] Barb Egan: Oh, okay. So if we switch gears a little bit, I'd love to hear about your trauma work and EMDR in particular, how did you get into it? What is that like working it? What does that mean for our listeners EMDR? and tell us a little bit about that.
I'm going to announce I'm very biased. I love EMDR. So just everyone to know. I love it. So that's where I'm coming from a bit of bias here, but EMDR stands for eye movement, desensitization and reprocessing. I always joke that it's not ASMR. Like the fun sounds on YouTube that are soothing and it's not EDM electronic dance music, but it's E M D R eye movement, desensitization reprocessing.
[00:19:46] Hailey Kanigan: So I originally heard about it in my undergraduate studies and I was like, what an interesting thing that we can use bilateral stimulation to reprocess, traumas. We can use it to install positive beliefs and we can desensitize triggers. So during the first little bit of my practice as a clinician, I was feeling a little bit of my own imposter syndrome.
I was like, how can talk therapy just be enough, like, how am I going to help these clients? Cause I was so motivated to get them to a place of peace. I was like, how can this be enough, there must be another way. So I really took some time to look into EMDR and the understanding that it's a balance of that talk therapy during the first few phases and then the introduction of bilateral stimulation to reprocess.
So I was like, that sounds great. Like imagine if we could desensitize these big traumas, that individuals experience. And so I'm also hesitant to use the word trauma. I've actually preferred like hurtful experiences because trauma even itself has its own stigma associated with it. So I like hurtful anything that hurts us in any way. It might be a moment where we were called a bad name when we were a child, or it could be a feeling of exclusion. It could be like a big trauma such as a hurricane hitting us. So if you want, we can kind of dive into like how that works. For sure. So EMDR has an eight phase protocol. So it was developed by Francine Shapiro way back when, which seems like way back when, to me, but it wasn't that too, too long ago, but enough time for some empirical evidence to support it.
She noticed that when, one of her clients was recounting some of the trauma as she looked back and forth, The client was able to recount the trauma with less intensity. It felt more calming for that client. And so she looked into eye movements and started develop a protocol where she realized that through bilateral stimulation, it's able to bring down the trauma and associated the body sensations associated with that.
So the first few phases of EMDR focuses on your clinician getting to know the clients, doing, history, assessments, doing some assessments for dissociation, making sure that they can hold dual attention, meaning like one foot in the present, one foot in the past, and also like one, one part of the brain focusing on the trauma. Focusing on the bilateral stimulation, whether it be eye movements or thera-tappers, so like buzzers, or it could also be sound or tapping. There's a lot of different modalities to make it very accessable. And so after those few phases are done, we move into the bilateral stages. And so what we would do with a client is we, after we, since we have all the history, we figure out what we want to target.
So I'll just use a very straightforward example, say a car accident. So say a client is presenting to counseling because they're feeling a lot of anxiety while driving. And have that client returned to their ability to drive effectively. So we would start from the driving and we'd work our way back through time to find the associated memories to the car accident.
So what we would do as a float back. So basically what that means is I would guide the client to go back through their history, to find those associated and linking of memories of that are similar in the way that it feels, the way that they think about it or the negative beliefs that they may hold. So a memory might come up that has nothing to do with.
But it's that building blocks of where the hurtful experience started. So I'll give a metaphor, say we have a wonderful green grass and this client is living their life really great, but there's one dandelion in their cross. And that's that car accident. It presents them to themselves as this really kind of destructive or unhelpful block in their life. So with that dandelion, we might just want to process just the dandelion head. As all of us who have green grasses, if you just pluck up the dandelion, right, there's still going to be the roots and the dandelion will regrow. So the float back, what it allows you to do is to go beneath the surface of the dirt, find, the roots of association and reprocess them.
So we always reprocess the earliest memory in a person's life. Then we always reprocess the worst and we always reprocess the current, which would be like, So that's kind of how we set that up. So then say we're at the car accident reprocessing. So the client would think about that car accident and we would pair it with the bilateral.
And what that bilateral does is, allows the client to regulate through deep breathing or use the bilateral stabilization. And I'll just be very. We don't actually, 100% know why bilateral works. we have the theories behind it. but it helps that client to see differently because they will have an unhelpful learning from that car accident. Like, wow, I should've drove slower. I can't believe that person hit me or, and it helps them to shift their perspective on it. And so they might see that car accident. I was like, wow, I'm so happy to be alive and be present in my life. So that big shift can kind of happen and it takes away that negative belief and kind of soothes the body through that experience ,
[00:24:27] Barb Egan: As you're talking, I'm just like, I couldn't anyone benefit from this or are there certain people that really benefit more from EMDR?
[00:24:37] Hailey Kanigan: I find that individuals who are much more, like we said, like the top down approach, a little more cognitive, I personally find them a little bit more challenging because they're a lot more in their head. And the EMDR has that bottom up approach so that they generally need to take a little more time to sink into their body.
That's where those first few phases of EMDR come into play to help more of the cognitive people in my opinion. I think anyone can use it. But part of the first few phases is to assess a person's readiness. So I think that it's applicable to everyone. It's just about, sometimes it does take a little bit longer before we get into the bilateral piece.
[00:25:08] Barb Egan: And could EMDR be used for say anxiety, not just a hurtful experience
[00:25:15] Hailey Kanigan: Yeah. One of the theories behind, EMDR is the adaptive information processing variant, and so what that says is that when our personalities are growing up over time as little school children, or if there's a lack of, security with our primary attachment, such as parents or guardians, or we had hurtful experiences, or we didn't feel included, then maybe that's where the anxiety kind of started because anxiety does serve a purpose.
Like if we were never anxious, we might not get everything done, and we might not be too concerned or emotionally invested, but anxieties that older activation, sometimes it's a little bit unhelpful because there's too much of it. So we can use EMDR with anxiety because part of what I do is go okay, now that we've learned how to emotionally regulate, right? That's great. Coping skills are always useful. We always should have coping skills, but what if we could reprocess some of those hurtful experiences from the past that made you maybe question your self esteem for social anxiety or made you fear? needles or made you fear a car or whatever it was. So that, that is no longer a building block that is leading you to the present day anxiety that you're experiencing. So yes, I would say so.
[00:26:18] Barb Egan: When you're working with someone say that first example, you know, young university, female student coming in and saying, you know, I really experienced a lot of anxiety and then it's kind of unpacked. You pull back that layer. some identity questioning and purpose and all of that too.
How would you move through that? doing that kind of either top down or bottom up approach that you like to do and then say, oh, you know what? I think EMDR might be a great approach for you. How do you assess.
[00:26:45] Hailey Kanigan: I think it's number one, just really knowing your client really well and having a good history of them and what their experiences are like, because sometimes some clients have had a very secure upbringing and childhood and everything seems really subtle, but if there is a little bit of disconnect, maybe an absent parent or some bullying, or like things that are kind of related to that self identity, cause there's a lot of that social anxiety. Theme as well with that, university age group. And so sometimes maybe they were excluded from a birthday party. I know, like as outsiders would go, well, like that happened so big deal, but it can create that hurt. Right. And that emotional wound. And so we can desensitize that and have them see that.
Wow. It wasn't about their worthiness as a human being. That's why they didn't get invited. It's more about just there, wasn't only so many room at the home, so many spots at that birthday party, right. So that alone could help them to see their identity differently.
[00:27:39] Barb Egan: Wow. So would you say that, like when you're working with someone and trying to maybe restructure some, going more of that cognitive approach, so like a CBT, for example, or a narrative, even you're trying to reframe that narrative and you're going to cognitive, you're trying to, to, you know, Hey, what about this more balanced perspective? And it's just not sinking in, is that when you would explore. Kind of more of that EMDR approach or the bilateral approach.
[00:28:02] Hailey Kanigan: Yeah. I could definitely explore that, but it also maybe explore any walking, challenges or beliefs that are happening, like while, like, I don't think I'll ever not having anxiety.
Okay. Well maybe we should talk about that first. Right. because I think that it's really important that like EMDR is applied in the right way. Like I am a purist, I like to follow the protocol. It's developed for a reason. And so I think it's just a matter if there actually are some experiences that kind of could be processed at any triggers.
It just, it really depends on each client's presentation of anxiety and those, like, why do we feel like it's coming up right.
[00:28:37] Barb Egan: Right. Oh, that's so great. That's something. are there any for our listeners, like for some takeaways, say for anxiety or EMDR, are there any things, or even the window of tolerance, is there something that you can share with them to say, you know what, this is, this would be a good exercise or strategy to try at home, to, to help kind of check in with yourself or manage some of that.
[00:28:58] Hailey Kanigan: Well, I think the first step is to maybe let go of any preconceived biases that they may have around mental health strategies. Like, I think that's a very common thing. Like I mentioned earlier, like maybe the key meditation is hokey or, it's fine. I can exercise later, just like that little bit of more of like letting go of some of those preconceived biases I think would be helpful.
And then number one, just going like. You don't as a client have to do everything. What if you just implement one strategy? What if you implement one nice 15, 20 minute walk a week? Or what if you just practice having a really nice, slow cup of coffee in the morning, or, you know, and really being open to this idea that it's okay to have mental health support.
Like, we don't need to have it as this like taboo thing. Like we can be open with it. So I think that would be my first thing is reducing the bias that we maybe have around mental health strategies and then just starting somewhere, anywhere. It would be great.
[00:29:52] Barb Egan: Oh, I love that. And I think that's a really neat takeaway because like you said, a lot of these people are coming to see you and it's their first taste of therapy. That's so brave and to affirm them. And I like how you said too, like you warm them up to it because most are so terrified. I remember being so scared and I would be so anxious and I'm like, my, my therapist is so nice. Like, I, I genuinely really like this person they're so kind and welcoming and I would get nervous. so i'm like, I'm sure these people coming in to see me are nervous and it wasn't that long ago that I know that. Yeah. So it's normal to feel that way and to create that safe, warm, inviting place.
[00:30:34] Hailey Kanigan: Exactly. Definitely. Yeah. It definitely warming them up to it and getting to be comfortable. is really important.
[00:30:42] Barb Egan: Wow. So Hailey, where can our listeners, where can they find more out about you or, you know, do you have a website or social media? Tell us where we can find you.
[00:30:51] Hailey Kanigan: Yeah, for sure. You guys can. Everyone who's interested. I am accepting new clients and what's great is EMDR can also be done digitally if you are uncomfortable coming in person as well.
So you can find me at www.haileykanigancounselling.com and you can reach out through my way.
[00:31:05] Barb Egan: Awesome. That's so good. I have a few that I might be sending over your way.
[00:31:10] Hailey Kanigan: For sure. I always welcome, like if a client has a question or they're not really sure if they want to meet with me, I'm more than happy to offer, like a 15 minute free phone call consultations. I'm welcome. I'm really happy to like explain EMDR and send them any informational videos. because I think that like, it's a big investment of their time and energy and money. So I'm really more of like giving them the opportunity to like, get to know me for 15 minutes and see if they can kind of jive with me.
[00:31:37] Barb Egan: Hailey I have to say your jive is awesome. you're so kindand welcoming. I've worked with a few other, EMDR therapists who are strong personalities, which, I think that sometimes is great, but you are so welcoming and kind, there are a few people that would do so well with you.
[00:32:01] Hailey Kanigan: And I can understand that cause EMDR is that protocol. And I like that, like, I love a recipe for dinner or something. Like I like the step by step process, which EMDR is, but we can't just like take that firm thing and just put it on the person we have to make it approachable, manageable. Interesting. I'll throw in a joke when appropriate, because like this is the individual's lives. They deserve to feel happy and welcome and get the results that they're looking for.
Oh, that's so great. Yeah. Oh, that's so good. Yeah.
I appreciate you taking this time, Barb. Like I think it's great that we make EMDR moral and more known or like what counseling can be like and continuing the conversation of decreasing the stigma around counseling.
I think that's just huge.
[00:32:40] Barb Egan: Yes. Yes. Well, thank you. And thanks for leaving the corporate bank world because
[00:32:47] Hailey Kanigan: yeah, I know. It's so funny. Like it was like, I learned a lot. I definitely know how to use Excel for sure.
[00:32:53] Barb Egan: Yeah. Yeah. A lot of organizational skills. I'm sure.
[00:32:58] Hailey Kanigan: Yeah, for sure. Definitely. And I'm actually pursuing this as my little puppy Luna here. I just got her a few days ago, but she's going to be our little therapy dog in the future as well. So she's going to join up me and my practice when she grows up a little bit.
[00:33:10] Barb Egan: That's awesome. I haven't bernese mountain dog therapy dog.
[00:33:13] Hailey Kanigan: Yeah, aren't they wonderful? She's just like a sleeping.
[00:33:20] Barb Egan: So cute. They are. It's so amazing because it's like, I mean, we co-regulate as humans, like when we talk to each other and are just around each other, but there's something so powerful and we know in the brain oxytocin's produces, it's calming, beautiful, you're just petting this dog. There's so nonjudgmental and just amazing.
[00:33:38] Hailey Kanigan: It's the best. That's why I'm going to bring her into my practice in the future. And I'd love to do some, this, even like the, we could do some walk and talk counseling. You get a lot of bilateral stimulation just by walking, right foot, left foot . And like, when you talk and walk can be really good way to regulate. So that's the dream.
[00:33:52] Barb Egan: That's what I do. It's so great. And you get to walk a dog! Yeah, exactly.
[00:33:57] Hailey Kanigan: Exactly.
[00:33:59] Barb Egan: Oh, good. That's awesome. That's so exciting. Oh, well Haley, thank you so much for your time and thank you so much for your, your, you just were. So well-spoken and your examples of, I love the window of tolerance example. I think that's so handy for all of our listeners and just the insight on anxiety and purpose EMDR. So thank you so much for coming on and we'll do it again!
Yeah, for sure. Thanks!