Driven round the bend?
Article appeared in Latest 7
Pamela Sidney’s fear of driving had become all-consuming. She finally turned to NLP coach and hypnotherapist Jonathan Conway to see if he could help her get back behind the wheel.
I had always put my fear of driving down to the fact I had failed my driving test four times. Since finally passing my test eight years ago, I had struggled with the fear and the panic of getting in the driver’s seat. It had got to the point where it was stopping me from doing things that I wanted to. I decided to go and see Jonathan Conway; Hypnotherapist and NLP coach, to see how he could help me.
At first I was slightly apprehensive but Jonathan made me feel at ease by asking me general questions about my background. I found I was able to open up to him as he created a safe and trusting environment. He listened carefully as I answered his questions and then gave me time to explain my problem and we discussed my symptoms. On asking me if I had ever been in a car crash, my mind raced back to when I was 14; I was in a car which skidded over a T-junction and into a ditch. This was something I had completely forgotten about. I became quite emotional but Jonathan was understanding and reassured me that I was describing a typical phobia.
Jonathan explained that we would use an NLP based cure technique to disassociate myself from the experience. This involved closing my eyes and imaging myself in a cinema. Jonathan asked me to imagine floating up out of my body into the projection booth and looking down on 14 year old Pamela watching the incident on the screen in black and white. He then asked me to quickly rewind it in colour four times. This scrambling technique is used to recode the information in the brain and after this I felt a lot calmer and less emotional.
Following this, Jonathan explained how hypnotherapy utilises the unconscious mind to facilitate change in patterns of thinking and behaviour. The hypnotic trance was not deep but pleasant and relaxing. It involved a reassuring visualisation of driving my car to help give me the confidence to get back in the driver’s seat. As I listened to Jonathan’s soothing voice he continued to tell me a metaphorical story about a woman who had to climb a mountain but had never even climbed a hill before. She felt anxious at the bottom of the mountain but calm at the top. The subconscious mind takes its own meaning from this and makes sense of it in its own way. Coming out of the hypnosis I had the feeling of an emotional realease, much like you do after you have cried. The hypnosis allowed me to find the resources within myself to deal with the problem in my subconscious mind.
Finally, Jonathan taught me a self-hypnosis technique. This made me feel calm and in control and is a great skill I can use any time where it’s safe and appropriate. I left Jonathan’s practice feeling empowered that I had resolved my issue and with the necessary skills to use if and when I needed to.
I can’t believe I am genuinely excited about getting back in a car and driving! I never thought it would have been possible. I might need a few driving lessons though as it’s been so long! I’m so pleased Jonathan has been able to help me.