Phobia of motorway driving
Jenny, a fifty-year-old nurse had developed in her late twenties a severe fear, to the point of phobia, of driving on the motorway. She was a competent driver happy to drive on any other roads. She was at ease driving on busy city roads, narrow country roads and even dual carriageways with difficult intersections. However, because of her phobia of motorways, just the thought of driving on one would cause her a panic attack. For over twenty years she had managed to avoid motorway driving. She managed by going on alternative roads or by getting other people to do the driving. She finally decided to seek help. She had been offered a new job –her dream job- but it meant an impossible long commute unless she used the motorway.
During the 4 sessions of hypnotherapy, first, we explored the origin of the phobia. It was revealed that the problem originated from having had a panic attack whilst driving on the motorway. Under trance, she was able to revisit that moment when she felt the panic. She was able to see that the panic attack was not related to anything that happened on the motorway. There was no accident or emergency. She had stopped safely on the hard shoulder because of how unwell she felt. The panic, however, was caused by a completely different concern that was not related to her driving, but that happened whilst she was driving on the motorway. Since then, her subconscious had associated motorway driving with panic, causing her to avoid it at any cost. Once the incident was processed and reframed, the association was broken and the fear went. During the following sessions, Jenny, under trance would visualise herself driving calmly on the motorway with full confidence in her (already existing) very good driving skills.
By the end of the treatment, she had the confidence to drive with a friend for one section of the motorway. When she felt confident enough she increased the number of sections until she was able to drive any distance required. Jenny was very happy to have been able, with the help of hypnotherapy, to lose her fear and to accept the job she wanted.
(Please note that names and any identifiable information have been changed to maintain client anonymity)