Driving Anxiety Treatment
Driving a car is probably the most risky thing many of us do. and therefore some people will experience driving anxiety and require treatment for their phobia.
Some people have driving anxiety because
they have been involved in a car accident either as a passenger or the driver
they have panic attacks and fear they will have one whilst driving and lose control of the car
they fear their driving will be negatively evaluated by others
‘People who have panic attacks may fear driving their car on a freeway, or through the Domain or Mullum Mullum Tunnels, or over the Westgate Bridge.
These people need graded, repeated, prolonged, massed exposure to driving on freeways, through tunnels and over bridges. In order to make driving anxiety treatment manageable clients may first start driving in light traffic with a support person and gradually work up to driving in heavy traffic alone.
Some motorists will develop post traumatic stress disorder after a motor vehicle accident and may require assistance from a psychologist, in order to get back behind the wheel. I have worked with people who, having had a serious car accident, were unable to even look at a car resembling their vehicle, without experiencing significant fear. These drivers need to be slowly and gently exposed to driving. The driving experience may need to be broken down into very small, manageable steps. Even sitting in the car without turning the ignition on may be stressful for a traumatised motorist.
For example, initially an anxious motorist might just drive up and down a dead end street. Then they might progress to driving around quiet back streets. Then they might venture onto a more busy road, and eventually work up to driving on a freeway. Some anxious drivers might feel safer with someone sitting beside them, but others feel more stress if accompanied as they fear they might injure or kill their passenger. Many motorists with post traumatic stress disorder can overcome their fear of driving a car with graded, repeated, prolonged, massed exposure.
UInfotunately, real life exposure to feared driving scenarios can be difficult to organise because of, for example, time constraints and/or the difficulty of accessing a suitable support person to accompany the anxious driver.
However, in order to overcome the dificulties many clients experience getting sufficient exposure to their feared driving scenarios, I offer virtual reality exposure therapy, where the client is able to experience, via wearing a headset, a sense of prescence in a computer generated, three dimensional motoring environment.
Virtual reality exposure is also more acceptable to clients than getting behind the wheel of a real car on a real road, which is understandable as there is no risk of a car accident in virtual reality exposure.
Virtual reality also has the advantage that it allows us to provide exposure to: driving on freeways, going through tunnels, driving over bridges from the safety of my office. Clients can also be exposed to e.g. increasingly heavy traffic, poor weather conditions etc but we have total control over what the client will be exposed to, there are no surprises.
Call now on 0429 883671 or Click here to arrange an appointment to start your journey to panic free driving.