I recently worked with a young woman who counted the days down until she was 17 so that she could learn to drive, yet now she had reached that magical age she was overcome with fear and anxieties about taking her driving test. This is the person who at the age of 14 was given a birthday present of a driving experience, jumped into a gleaming red Ferrari and roared around a race track at speeds which terrified her poor mother who hardly dared watch the speeding Ferrari containing her 14 year old.
The day of the 17th birthday arrived complete with lots of generous gifts from relatives who knew how much this young woman wanted to join the millions of us who can drive cars. Her first driving lesson was soon booked and she set off on her big adventure to learn to drive and reach her long held ambition of getting behind the wheel of a car and gaining freedom to drive herself around.
The first few lessons were uneventful and she seemed to be enjoying the experience; it was when the instructor started to mention taking her test that things started to get difficult. She found herself shaking, sweaty and unable to concentrate in the half hour before her lesson each week. What started as a mild anxiety soon developed into full blown panic attacks which occurred without warning most weeks. This left her feeling drained and lacking in confidence particularly around the driving. She was scared to get in a car just in case an attack happened whilst she was out on the road. Something she had dreamt of for so long seemed to be slipping away which left her feeling down and even more anxious and so a cycle of anxiety spiralled away.
At this point she asked for help and this is when I started to share some NLP tools with her and give her strategies for handling the anxiety and panic associated with her driving test.
This is what we did together:
First of all we stepped back from all the feelings of overwhelm, inadequacy and fear as if she was taking off a very heavy coat with pockets full of clutter which she no longer wanted to carry. The coat was placed on the floor and we walked away from all that emotion and just looked at it from a safe distance. Just doing that lightened the load and took a weight off her shoulders. What we then had to do was replace those negative and unwanted feelings with positive resources to help her get back on track, feel confident and calm enough to take her driving test.
Through chatting over a lovely cup of tea she started to tell me about some times in her life when she felt confident, calm and successful. We laid out a timeline for her and she showed me where in her life the confident, calm and successful experiences had been. She then stepped on to her time line and revisited each of these experiences in turn. At each one she took time to take herself back to the experience, and visited each of her senses to recall what she could see, hear and feel at the time. As the experience flooded into her memory I could see her body physically change as she stood tall and took on the physiology of a confident and happy young woman. We travelled through the time line visiting each experience in turn and building up an inventory of positive feelings which she stored away and gave herself a trigger so she could recall them when she wanted.
Over the next couple of weeks in the privacy of her own home she practiced recalling the positive experiences through walking through her time line and stopping to enjoy the memory of each experience and attaching the feelings to a personal trigger.
When it came time to take the driving test she put all her new positive feelings into place through triggering them with her personal trigger. This reduced the anxiety from panic attack to a level of nervousness which she could deal with. She got into the car and drove off down the road with her instructor to the driving test centre. Who was the one with knots in their stomach and fear coursing through their veins then? Well it was my turn then as I waited anxiously by the phone to see if she passed. A little under an hour later I got the call to say that she had passed her test and was now creating an anchor for the feeling of excitement and exhilaration which she now felt as she celebrated her success.
If you’d like to find out more about how using NLP can help with creating strategies to deal with stress and anxiety then please give me a call on 01183 282 743 for a no obligation chat.
By Corrine Thomas http://nlp4kids.org/practitioners/corrine-thomas/
NLP4Kids is an education franchise that provides child counselling with child therapists who specialise in using NLP for Kids, a proactive alternative to conventional child psychology and children’s mental health. If you are looking for family therapist to help with bipolar disorder in children, ADHD in children, depression in children, teenage depression or OCD in children, or if you wish to book a workshop to help your overcome panic attacks in children or anger management for children, call 0203 6677294 or email info@NLP4Kids.org
NLP4Kids have therapists based in Hampshire