How to Overcome Fear of Highway Driving – Online Therapy via Skype
Welcome! My name is Peter Strong and I provide online therapy over Skype for working with anxiety and depression and other emotional problems. But one of the things that I get asked most often to help with is fear of driving, particularly how to overcome fear of highway driving. This seems to be a real problem for many people.
The mindfulness therapy approach that I offer online basically teaches you how to really reprogram your emotional habits, your emotional reactions.
We do this by actually learning how to apply mindfulness directly yo the anxiety itself. Essentially, we are learning how to meditate on the anxiety. Of course, our habit is to avoid our emotions, but this is the worst thing you can possibly do. By avoiding your anxiety you basically strengthen it.
Mindfulness does the exact opposite, it actually cultivates conscious awareness of your anxiety. You establish a conscious relationship with your anxiety and this is what catalyzes change and allows the anxiety to resolve itself.
So, the program for overcoming highway driving anxiety or any other form of driving phobia you may have is one of, first of all, setting up regular challenges where you will be facing the actual situation that creates that anxiety. There is no substitute for that; you must put yourself in that situation.
But, there is no point in exposing yourself to that anxiety and just hoping that you will get over it. That style of exposure therapy is just not very effective in my experience. You have to prepare yourself for the challenge.
So, this means, basically playing through the challenge in your mind, the particular stretch of highway that you will be driving over, finding the anxiety that gets triggered, and then sitting with that anxiety, creating a conscious relationship with it, and exploring the imagery of the anxiety emotion itself, changing that imagery, and doing whatever you can to help that anxiety resolve itself.
You are learning to teach that anxiety to resolve itself before you go on the challenge; this is the key. Then you do the challenge and basically during the challenge all you have to do is stay conscious. If anxiety is triggered, then you can respond to that anxiety on the spot with mindfulness, which helps defuse it in the live scene.
Then, after the challenge you might do another round of mindfulness work with the anxiety since you now have perhaps some fresh emotion to work with. You would then sit with that emotion and again work on building that relationship with it so that you don’t become overwhelmed by the anxiety. You can sit with it like a parent sitting with a frightened child. It is not you, it is simply an object within you. It is a part of you, if you like, but it is not you.
Being an object you can establish a relationship with it as the observer. The more you can strengthen that relationship as the observer, seeing the anxiety, but not reacting to it, the more that anxiety will change.
You are learning how to be with the anxiety without feeding it through reactivity or avoidance or any other form of unskillful behavior. It’s only when can sit with it without reacting that it can really change, and that is a central part of the mindfulness therapy for driving anxiety that I will be teaching you during online therapy sessions that I offer over Skype.
If this interests you and you want to learn how to overcome your fear of highway driving or fear of driving over bridges or driving anxiety in general, do please go to my website and contact me by email and then we can schedule a Skype therapy session.
Most people really respond very quickly to the mindfulness approach because it works so directly with the underlying mechanism that creates that anxiety. Most clients see quite substantial changes after 3 to 4 sessions.
So, if this interests you and you want to overcome driving anxiety or other form of driving phobia do please contact me and let’s schedule a Skype therapy session. Thank you!
How to Overcome Fear of Highway Driving