Online Therapy for Driving Anxiety
Struggling with Anxiety and Panic Attacks when on the Road?
Would You like Help to Learn How to Manage Your Emotions More Effectively?
I CAN HELP YOU THROUGH DRIVING ANXIETY THERAPY ONLINE SESSIONS VIA SKYPE
Do you feel overly anxious on the highway or in heavy traffic? I frequently see clients who have developed an intense fear of driving, and the approach of Mindfulness Therapy has shown itself to be particularly effective in resolving the underlying anxiety associated with driving.
The secret to stopping anxiety reactions is to change the underlying imagery that operates beneath the surface. Change the imagery and you change the emotion. The reason why you react with unreasonable anxiety is because your mind sub-consciously reacts by generating anxiety producing imagery, rather like the traumatic flash-back memory imagery of someone suffering from PTSD. This imagery acts as an organizing property, focusing emotional energy into the intense form of an emotional reaction. The sight of a bridge, highway, fast moving traffic, etc are simply triggers that trigger this dysfunctional emotional imagery. The imagery creates the emotional reaction and the body reacts to this imagery by producing the physical symptoms of anxiety or panic.
During mindfulness therapy sessions I will help you change this internal habitual imagery, and as I said before, once you change the imagery you also change the emotional reactions directly. This approach is immensely effective not only for driving anxiety but for PTSD and anxiety disorders in general.
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People can develop driving phobia for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the phobia follows some time after an accident on the road. The trauma of the accident may cause you to lose your confidence; often the traumatic memories are so strong that they limit our ability to respond to changing conditions on the highway, making us more accident-prone, which further undermines confidence. However, for most people, driving anxiety has a different cause, and usually not because of a traumatic accident as one might think. A much more common scenario is that there is underlying General Anxiety, or Core Anxiety that has simply taken on the particular form of a driving phobia.
Whatever the cause, you can overcome fear of driving quite effectively using the techniques taught during Mindfulness Therapy sessions.
The first step in treating Driving Anxiety or Driving Phobia is to use your imagination to access the anxiety reaction that occurs when you are driving your car. We do not want to simply re-live the panic anxiety but rather we want to learn how to experience that anxiety differently so that we do not become overwhelmed by it and reactive. Reactivity simply reinforces the emotion. Instead of fighting it or resisting it, we learn how to sit with the fear in the same way that we would sit with a child. We know that shouting at the child won't help resolve his fear. Ignoring the child won't help either. What does help is sitting down with the child quietly and listening - creating a safe space in which the child can begin to open up and resolve his or her pain.
Cultivate a Mindful Relationship with the Driving Anxiety Emotion
Once we have accessed the anxiety or panic feeling, we then choose to sit with it - not thinking about it, not getting lost in the story or the emotion, not wallowing in it, but rather learning how to be present with it. This is analogous to sitting quietly with a child or a friend who is suffering and simply creating a safe space of friendliness and spaciousness that is the essence of mindfulness. In this way we are learning the art of not becoming overwhelmed, not becoming reactive and not feeding the emotion.
Investigate the Emotion at the heart of our Driving Anxiety
As explained above, all emotions have a structure - part imagery and part bodily - so we look very closely to learn more about this structure. In this way we deepen our relationship with the emotion. Over and over again, we find that the real problem is not in the emotion itself but in our habitual reactivity to it. This blind resistance or blind re-living the anxiety is what stops the anxiety from changing and healing - keeping the wound open and festering. Mindfulness counteracts this unhealthy relationship and provides the ideal conditions in which the anxiety can begin to transform and heal.
One of the products of investigation with mindfulness is that we see much more of the detail of the imagery that supports the emotion. Seeing this detail gives us details that we can work with, using our imagination and intuition.
Change the Imagery and You Change the Emotion
We can investigate changing the color and size of the imagery. Anxiety and other intense emotions always have equally intense colors and are invariably large. Change the colors to black and white and make the image small and experience the change in intensity of the anxiety.
There are numerous little changes that you can make - once you see the detailed structure of the emotion. Knowledge is power and the real power is always in the detail - like specific colors, shape, textures and other sensory properties that give form to the emotion.
Repeat and Refine
They say that the secret of all successful enterprise is good planning and thorough rehearsal before you take action. This is exactly what we do during Mindfulness Therapy for Driving Anxiety. We make the changes in imagery as described above and then we replay the stressful scene and notice the decrease in intensity of the emotion. We have learned something useful. Perhaps the emotion had a hot red color. Cooling that hotness with cool blue water really quenched the anxiety. Now we refine what we have learned, cultivating and strengthening this new response to the anxiety. In this very deliberate and specific way we can learn exactly how to resolve the anxiety. This learning becomes automatic with practice so that we no longer feel the need to react with a full-blown panic attack when we are driving again.
Re-exposure Therapy for Driving Anxiety
The proof is in the doing. So after careful rehearsal using the mindfulness-imagination methods briefly described above, we test our responses by getting back in that car and going for a drive. Now, if anxiety arises, you have effectively programmed your mind to respond differently to the anxiety - not becoming overwhelmed by it- but responding to the anxiety with inner friendliness, which is so much a part of mindfulness. If the anxiety is still high, then you simply set up another rehearsal session to re-process this anxiety using mindfulness. Eventually, you will have learned so many new ways of processing your anxiety that it will cease to have any power over you.
Schedule a Skype Therapy Session Today for Your Driving Phobia
This is just a brief introduction to the use of Mindfulness Therapy for overcoming Driving Anxiety. If you are interested in exploring this further, please email me and ask your questions or schedule a Skype Therapy session. People usually see big improvements after 3-6 sessions. You will know after the first session if this approach is right for you.
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Online Therapy for Driving Anxiety and Highway Panic - Don't be a victim of fear or phobia, contact me today!