A personal message from Chris to anyone who suffers anxiety:
Getting on your nerves
Feeling nervous about learning to drive is common for most new drivers, however, for some their anxiety can be a massive barrier to learning to drive. There are those who, even by just thinking about driving, may experience extraordinary physical symptoms from sweaty palms to feeling like they are about to have a heart attack. Anxiety of this nature goes by various names; Agoraphobia, Driving phobia, Anxiety disorder, Panic attacks, Nerves, to name but a few and is more prevalent than one might imagine.
Safe, Trusted & Supportive
Over the past seven years I've been helping people who are held back by the anxiety they feel about driving, providing a safe, trusted and supportive environment within which they are able to investigate, experiment and learn how to cope with their anxiety during driving lessons.
No two persons experience of anxiety are alike. The root cause of driving anxiety will be different for each individual, it may be the fear of causing an accident, perhaps the fear of making a mistake, or even fear of sitting in the car with an unknown instructor, in fact the list of reasons is as diverse as the people who experience anxiety, it’s different for everyone. And it’s just as likely that a sufferer has no idea why they feel like they do about driving, especially when in other areas of life they may be supremely confident.
My Brush with Anxiety
I first encountered anxiety when my son, Henry, at the age of fifteen began experiencing panic attacks and was subsequently diagnosed with severe agoraphobia. The battle within his mind resulted in him not being able to attend school and for a period not even being able to leave his bedroom. It was a challenging time for him and the whole family. When I look back, I realise how poorly prepared I was to help him and am sure my well intentioned interventions caused more problems than solutions. I’m confident that, if you’re a sufferer of anxiety, you will have heard the same sort of things I was saying to Henry back then; “Don’t be silly…. Just push yourself….. You’re overreacting…..You’re making this up….” and so on.
It took me a few years to even begin to appreciate the difficulties he was facing, in hindsight he was frightened by these strange, scary sensations that were affecting him for no apparent reason. Over the years my wife and I sort solutions for him, spent money on specialists, read books, brought cd’s and dvd’s however, he struggled to make sustained progress. I will always wonder how quickly he may have recovered if I’d handled his problems differently.
This was all happening at the time I took up driver training as a hobby, initially to teach my daughter. It was a skill which I was able to develop and tailor to assist Henry to take his practical test. I can categorically state that there is no way that Henry could have learned to drive in the traditional way. His demands and requirements would have seemed ridiculous to anyone unaccustomed to anxiety. With his input I was able to adapt how I taught him in a way that traditional driving instructors would have found both frustrating and commercially unviable. Whilst he learned to drive, he learned more about himself and how anxiety worked and I learned to adapt my teaching style to accommodate how he was feeling. The result was not just Henry passing his driving test and gaining the freedom that driving offers but he also discovered and was able to practice techniques which resulted in increased confidence in other areas of his life.
Henry continues to suffer from degrees of anxiety at various times however, he has the freedom to drive which has expanded his world exponentially.
Over the past few years I have been refining my coaching style of driver training and have been able to help many anxiety sufferers in Stourbridge and Kingswinford to that same freedom. The courses I've attended and studies I've made have resulted in a method of coaching which includes ideas from CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and TFT (Thought Field Therapy). I get such a buzz when an examiner takes out the pass certificate knowing that that persons life has changed for the better.
Young and old, male and female, anxiety is no respecter of persons. I’ve been thrilled to have assisted many people, just like you, in overcoming their fears. Let me tell you now - nothing will surprise me.
My Six Point Promise
I will always believe your anxiety is real.
I will always respect your wishes.
I will never ridicule your condition.
I will never lose patience.
I will never become frustrated.
I will always recognise your courage.
I continue to work hard, learning and developing new techniques and am confident that I can help you obtain your freedom. You must really want to drive because you’ve found this message, so I encourage you to dig deep and be extra courageous by giving me a call for a chat about how you feel about driving.
I look forward to speaking with you and sharing the journey alongside you. Chris.
Use these links to find out more about driving phobias and anxiety related to driving: