Healthcare Training Institute - Quality Education since 1979
CE for Psychologist, Social Worker, Counselor, & MFT!!
One great source of anxiety for many of my clients is the thought of travel. For some, it might be certain aspects of a trip such as the thought of an airplane or going through forests. For others, it might be just the simple idea of being away from a safe environment and placing themselves in a totally new one. Because of this anxiety, many clients stay at home and never experience the world around them, which causes embarrassment and regret.
In this section, we will examine three steps to help clients overcome their anxiety over travel. These three steps are motivation; pleasurable tie-ins; and lessening anticipatory anxiety.
Three Steps in Overcoming Anxiety
♦ Step #1 - Motivation
A few years ago, Phil had experienced a panic attack while visiting a friend in another city a few miles over. Ever since, Phil has associated leaving his hometown with panic attacks. Although the frequency of the attacks has diminished significantly during his treatment, he still cannot bring himself to leave his home. During one session, Phil expressed a desire to see his family, who lived in Brooklyn, several miles away. However, Phil was extremely reluctant because visiting them would require him to leave his comfortable bubble.
As it turns out, Phil had made his desire known around the time of the Brooklyn Bridge Centennial celebration. I decided to give pamphlets to Phil about the festivities which described Brooklyn in shining terms. Gradually, Phil became more and more interested with the bridge, its history, and architecture. Finally, he wrote a letter to his family saying that he may plan a trip to see them. His family became so entranced with the idea, that they sent him letters every few days encouraging him to come up. Finally, Phil decided to make the trip just in time for the celebrations.
Think of your Phil. Could he or she use some motivation or outside force to help them make a trip?
♦ Step #2 - Pleasurable Tie-Ins
Susan was a 36 year old client of mine who had developed an avoidance of long drives. This came as a result of a panic attack that Susan had had during a long drive to see a friend. Although driving itself had not caused the panic attack, Susan now associates long drives with the attack and so avoids them. Susan stated, "It may not be so bad when I’m in the car, but just thinking about what happened the last time I tried to take a long trip makes me anxious and scared."
I asked Susan if she enjoyed any particular types of music. She replied that she especially liked opera. I suggested that Susan keep a stack of opera CDs in her car and to play them whenever she drove. Soon, Susan began to look forward to taking short drives because she could listen to her favorite music. Eventually, the anxiety over a long car ride diminished and Susan could look forward to long trips as long as she had her opera music to keep her calm.
♦ Step #3 - Lessening Anticipatory Anxiety
Cecilia, a 43 year old client of mine, had made it her goal to go on a vacation to the beach with her family. Cecilia stated, "I was terribly afraid of bridges because I’d always get a panic attack whenever I crossed a bridge. I used to worry all the time: What if I get stuck there and can’t leave? My family wanted very much to go to the beach, but in order to get there, we had to cross a very long bridge."
To help Cecilia prepare to face her fears, I asked her to read up on the particular bridge she would be crossing: she looked up material on the bridge in the encyclopedia and she began to think of the bridge in a factual way rather than an emotional way. When the time came for her to cross over the bridge, Cecilia found herself delighted by the expanse of ocean underneath it and even wanted to drive over it again.
♦ Technique: Eleven Tips for an Anxiety-Free Trip
Can you think of any clients who have travel anxiety? Would they benefit from "Eleven Tips for an Anxiety-Free Trip"?
In this section, we discussed three steps to help clients overcome their anxiety over travel. These three steps are motivation; pleasurable tie-ins; and lessening anticipatory anxiety.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References: