to schedule a Skype therapy session with Dr. Peter Strong, specialist in online mindfulness therapy for overcoming anxiety and depression.
How to overcome highway driving anxiety - Mindfulness based Exposure Therapy via Skype.
Welcome! My name is Peter Strong. I'm a professional psychotherapist based in Colorado and I offer online therapy via Skype. I get a lot of requests to work with driving anxiety. Obviously online therapy is very good if you're suffering from some form of driving anxiety because it's difficult to drive to see a therapist in person. As long as you have Skype or similar video platform to use, then working with a therapist over Skype is really no different than working with a therapist in person, as long as you can see each other, that is important.
So how do we go about overcoming driving anxiety and highway phobia using Mindfulness Therapy? Well, the most important thing to understand here is that you need to develop a strategy and the first part of that strategy is to set yourself a series of driving challenges, starting with very simple ones to very challenging challenges.
So the first thing is to develop a series of challenges and make sure that you do these challenges every day.
But that is not enough by itself. You have to train for each challenge that you do. This describes the process called Mindfulness-based Exposure Therapy, which is very effective indeed. And basically this is a form of training that you do before each challenge and after each challenge.
The way we go about this is to imagine doing the challenge first of all. This is called a "rehearsal meditation."
You meditate on the challenge that you're about to do. You look for any anxiety that gets triggered and then we develop a very special way of working with that anxiety using mindfulness.
So the first part of our training is really developing the sense of being the observer seeing the anxiety has an object, or a visitor. Even better still, is to see the anxiety as being like a child or a small animal that is suffering.
We want to change our relationship to it. We want to become like a parent to that child. That emotion. So we develop an internal relationship in which we remain as the observer and that will gradually prevent you from becoming consumed by that anxiety. The more you train as being the observer the freer you become from the anxiety.
The next stage in our work in neutralizing the anxiety is to look at its imagery. So in order for anxiety to work it has to be very large and often very high in your visual field. So this is why we say that we feel "overwhelmed," literally the anxiety is above us. That's how we experience it and to be overwhelming it must be very large. Now this is the emotional imagery that is formed again out of habit in the mind. But when you bring mindfulness to see this imagery then you can start to change it, because consciousness always is accompanied by choice, you can begin to change the habits, you can change the imagery of the anxiety.
The simplest thing to explore is to make the anxiety image smaller. The smaller it becomes the less power it has. Also can you change its position? Can you take it from being above you in its "overwhelming" position, to being on the passenger seat or on the floor or beside you?
It's literally can no longer be overwhelming if it's no longer above you. It cannot be overwhelming if it is the size of a grain of sand or a very small.
So this is interacting with the imagery of the anxiety and changing that imagery in a way that neutralizes the anxiety. With training this becomes automatic after a while and the anxiety, if it gets triggered, will automatically change its imagery by itself and resolve itself on the spot so we no longer experience anxiety.
So this is the strategy that I find to be effective it works really well I've worked with many people over the years helping them overcome their highway phobia and driving anxiety using this mindfulness based exposure therapy approach if you'd like to get started with me. Simply send me an email and we can schedule a Skype Therapy session at a time that was for you so please don't hesitate to email me if you have any questions and please don't just accept your driving anxiety. You can overcome your fear of highways or whatever it might be. You can overcome the anxiety habits by a strategic mindfulness based approach. Thank you.
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