Being too frightened to drive or having a driving phobia (also called vehophobia), is a lot more common than people realise. Not only can it cause extreme anxiety and stress on the individual, but their personal and professional life can also suffer when their driving fear interferes with their social life, parenting responsibilities, job commitments and more.

The good news is that it is possible to overcome a fear of driving, and it doesn’t necessarily involve getting inside a vehicle. Hypnotherapy is one of the proven techniques which has helped many people become (or return to being), comfortable and confident behind the wheel of a car.

What I have found in a lot of cases, is that a few past negative driving experiences can stay with a person as memories which then start to stack up against them, obscuring their thoughts and making it difficult for them to regain a balanced perspective on their driving ability. Unfortunately, this often then makes the person feel incompetent and under the impression that they can’t drive.

Here are some other common reasons or triggers for driving anxiety:

• Being criticised – Often drivers have had passengers (usually partners), who have been harsh and critical of their driving. Sometimes to the point of yelling. In this instance driving lessons with a professional and calm driving instructor could help in feeling supported and regaining confidence behind the wheel.

• Not enough practice – Long gaps in-between driving or insufficient time on the road can result in driving anxiety, purely because you haven’t had enough practical experience. Building up confidence is required, which you can do by starting with familiar roads close to home in non-peak hour traffic. Then slowly over time you can widen the circle of your car travel.

• Past accidents – Some clients have been in severe accidents and the memory of these plus the fear of it happening again is what’s getting in the way of them driving. What can be helpful is to realise that past accidents can become the opportunity and motivation to become safer drivers. The fear doesn’t necessarily want the person not to drive, but rather to become a more calm, aware and confident driver.

• Panic attacks – Many people suffer severe panic attacks when driving, usually brought on by things such as extended periods stuck in traffic, being on motorways, driving with children, going over bridges or in tunnels, or driving long distances in unfamiliar territory.

• Family history – A fear of driving can sometimes run in families where parents, siblings or even grandparents don’t drive or have driving anxiety. For people in these families, without even realising it, this fear has been imprinted and passed on to them, yet it is possible to break free of the same pattern.

No matter what the reason is for not being confident in driving or being too frightened to drive, hypnotherapy can make a significant positive difference. It addresses the problem at a subconscious level which is essential because this is where limited memories, attitudes, beliefs and fears are held.

The relaxing hypnotic state – which is not dissimilar to whenever we find ourselves drifting off and daydreaming – is used to diminish the fear of driving, by accessing the subconscious mind through a relaxing guided visualisation.

Using hypnotic verbal suggestions, the hypnotherapist retrains and layers in positive, capable impressions that sink into the subconscious mind. The client is also encouraged to mentally rehearse seeing themselves driving in a calm, competent, safe way.

Hypnotherapy, when used skilfully to draw on the simple use of imagination and verbal suggestion, can have a person back in the driver’s seat in no time, feeling calm and in control.

Are you ready to take the wheel?

For more information about overcoming driving fear and anxiety through hypnosis, please get in touch for a free 15 minute phone or skype consultation.