A Driving Peace customer emailed me the other day, asking about tunnel phobia. If you’ve never heard of this, “tunnel phobia” is the fear brought on by having to drive through a tunnel.
I have to admit, I’d never had much reason to think about this type of driving fear, seeing as how I’d never lived anyplace I had to drive through tunnels. Tunnel phobia was pretty much off my radar.
Then I started thinking about it…
My Experience with Tunnel Phobia and Claustrophobia
“Now wait just a minute,” I told myself. “Greg, you lived in California for over two years! Are you telling me you’ve forgotten the SUBWAY?!”
“Oh…well, yeah taking the subway WAS pretty unpleasant, wasn’t it? Especially when the train went into the underground tunnel part. It was pretty dark in there. And small. And confining. I guess I DID feel pretty claustrophobic — trapped and worried about how I was going to get out. Now that you mention it, I seem to recall a couple of occasions where I wondered if I would start screaming before the train came back above ground…”
After this little internal exchange, I sheepishly admitted I had more experience with tunnel phobia than I had first thought.
The fear of tunnels is actually a manifestation of claustrophobia. Claustrophobia is usually an irrational fear of small or otherwise confining spaces. People with claustrophobia are afraid of being trapped in a situation they can’t handle and where no one can or will help them.
For example, one of the most common manifestations of driving phobia — being stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic — is really claustrophobia. You feel trapped among all those other vehicles and imagine that if something terrible happens, you’ll lose control and no one will be able to help you.
Using Hypnosis for Claustrophobia
Claustrophobia is one of the most common irrational human fears and has been proven to respond well to hypnosis. Hypnosis, aka hypnotherapy, uses relaxation, meditation and our imaginations to reprogram the fearful associations our brains sometimes make with certain situations – such as driving through a tunnel. Much like the Driving Peace program, hypnosis changes the way we feel about things by turning off the link between certain thoughts and their fear-based emotional responses.
Here’s Driving Peace co-creator Andrew Cunningham talking about how he uses hypnosis for tunnel phobia and claustrophobia in his private therapy practice:
Whatever form it may take for you, there’s an excellent chance that your claustrophobia will respond well to hypnosis. Whether you’re dealing with tunnel phobia, fear of bridges, worry about driving in heavy traffic, nervousness about driving on highways…all of these are really different manifestations of claustrophobia. There’s no need to suffer when such effective treatment exists.