By Jenny Johnston, EFT TRN-3
EFT CASE STUDY — JANE
Panic / Anxiety Attacks while Driving
Client History — “Jane” (not her real name) is a 66-year-old, wife of an invalid Vietnam Veteran. This is her second marriage (divorced) and she has an adult son and daughter (from her first marriage), who live with them and who are in the process of shifting out.
Jane came to see me after suffering a severe panic attack while driving her son to/from the airport. She had to pull over on a bridge because of the panic attack and then needed to pull over a further 4 times on the way home due to panic.
She told me that she had experienced panic attacks 7 years ago while driving and was now taking anti-anxiety tablets. I had met Jane many times before as I am also an Occupational Therapist who visits her husband and assesses and orders him aids and equipment. Jane had my business card and had asked me many questions about my EFT/hypnotherapy work over the years and so didn’t hesitate to call me for help when her panic attacks re-occurred. She was now afraid that panic attacks while driving would limit her life and she wanted them gone.
EFT Session – I welcomed Jane and offered her a glass of water and asked her how she had been while driving here (40 min trip). She said that she’d felt anxious but knew she had to get here and hadn’t had a full-on anxiety/panic attack. I let her know that she would have a very different trip back and that she was going to be really surprised at how quickly we would be able to transform those panic feelings.
I asked her to fill-in my ‘Confidential Client Form’ where she indicated that she was taking anti-anxiety tablets for the last 7 years and that she had headaches, nightmares, anxiety/panic attacks, fatigue and depression at times. She stated that her reason for attending this session was for ‘panic driving’.
I then assessed her with the ‘Luscher Color Test’, which indicated that she was desiring more energy on all levels and was presently trying to bring in happiness by using her imagination but that she was unable to access peace and tranquility because she was spending all her energy on the needs of others and she didn’t feel okay around her home and her physical body.
She agreed that she was indeed feeling that way.
I then created her ‘geneogram’ (a pictorial diagram of her family tree). I discovered that her mother died almost a year ago and her father died 20 years ago. She is the youngest of 3, having an older brother and sister and has 2 adult children who live with her and are currently moving out (she commented that the shifting process was horrendous). She is divorced and is in her second marriage with her husband who is also in his second marriage. Her current husband has 3 children who do not have contact with him and live in another state.
I then began to explain to Jane about EFT and how it worked, scientifically, to ‘dissolve’ the symptoms of panic that she felt when driving so that that physical pathway would no longer be triggered when driving. I gave her examples of other clients, such as Vietnam Veterans who had had PTSD and anxiety/panic reactions to war memories and how the emotional and physical charge had been dissolved using EFT very rapidly and often in just a few EFT sessions. She was keen to get started. I then asked Jane if she was okay to tell me about her recent panic attacks. (She replied that she was ‘good to go’). I asked her when and where had she first experienced a panic attack while driving and what had been happening in her life at that time.
Jane said that it was shortly after they had moved to the Peninsula about 7 years ago and that the move had been ‘horrendous’.
Her husband couldn’t stand any ‘noise’ and she had to pack up their belongings in the back yard for the move and unpacking was also very difficult. She also told me that the year before she had had a severe reaction to potting mix and had ‘died’ (had a full near death experience) in hospital and it had really affected her during that year prior to moving. She had felt ‘out of control’ with this experience of floating away above her body and down the white tunnel.
Jane said that the first panic attack while driving was just after they moved and was near where her parents had used to live.
It had occurred a few times but that was the worst and she had to pull over. Soon after she had to see the doctor and he prescribed anti-anxiety medication which she has been on ever since. I asked her to explain what the panic attack felt like.
She said that she had a severe headache, everything went black and she saw stars and she had severe nausea. She felt like the car was going to float away and she had no control over it. I asked her if her recent panic attack while driving was the same or different in any way. She said that it was very much the same and that even though the traffic was moving slowly, every time she put her foot on the accelerator, she felt like the car was going to float away and that she had no control over it. She said that she had a headache, felt very nauseous and everything went black and she saw stars.
She also said that she was yelling at herself to try to keep herself present in the car on the bridge and to change lanes in order to be able to pull over. She said that other drivers must have thought that she was on drugs or something.
I told her that it was time to get into EFT now and showed her all the points. I asked her to copy me and to say what I say but that she could change the words to make them more real for her. I said that the more real it was for her, the more effective EFT would be. I asked her to tune into the most recent experience last week on the bridge and asked her what her anxiety was out of 10. She said that it was 10/10.
We began with the setup:
Even though I have this black panic attack feeling in my head and nausea in my stomach while driving on the bridge and I feel like the car is going to float away, I am safe and I made it home and I love and accept myself anyhow.
Even though I have this black out feeling and I’m seeing stars and I feel out if control and sick in my stomach, I’m okay right now and I am in control right now and I love and accept myself deeply and completely.
Even though I have this black headache and sick feeling in my stomach, driving over the bridge and I feel out of control, just like my life right now, I love and accept myself anyhow.
This black headache;
This nauseous, sick feeling in my stomach;
I feel out of control;
The car feels out of control just like my life;
If my car represented my life it’s no wonder that it feels out of control right now;
this horrendous shifting experience where I feel out of control;
Every time I put my foot on the accelerator I feel out of control;
Every time I try to move forward in my life and shifting is involved, it feels horrendous and out of control;
No wonder I feel out of control when I try to go forward in my car where I think I have control;
I should have control; no wonder I had a panic attack in the car;
Just like the first time I shifted when it was horrendous and everything felt out of control like now;
It’s just my body telling me that my life feels out of control with all this shifting;
I’ve got that message loud and clear now and I can let my subconscious know that it no longer needs to show me that message when I’m driving;
I get it and I’m listening now;
I’m doing something about this out of control feeling;
This remaining headache and stomach feeling; I love driving (she had told me this);
I just feel a little out of control in this shifting experience; just like when I had that near death experience and I floated away and felt out of control;
No wonder I feel like the car is floating away when I feel my life is out of control;
I choose to feel more in control of my life;
There are positive strategies I can take to feel more in control of my life;
These positive strategies will become more and more present in my life easily and often;
I choose to feel in control of my life and my car;
I love driving;
I even love to drive over bridges and I look forward to driving home soon;
This peaceful, calm feeling in head and stomach as I see myself driving over that bridge with a big smile on my face;
I love to drive and be in control of my life.
I asked her to take a deep breath, hold her wrist and say ‘peace’ as she breathed out and to take a drink of water. (She was smiling broadly as she had been showing many times through the tapping as she was having cognitive shifts from all the reframes I had been using).
I asked Jane to close her eyes and imagine driving over that bridge now and to notice if there was any sign of anxiety or panic in her body or if there was peace and calmness instead. She closed her eyes and smiled and said there is no anxiety at all, only RELIEF and I love driving and can’t wait to get in my car and drive again. I tested her by asking her to try to imagine the panic that she had felt last week in her head and stomach when she had to pull over. She said that she couldn’t feel it anymore.
I asked her to tune into the first time she panicked when driving, near her parents place and again, she couldn’t find any anxiety in her body.
She commented that she hadn’t associated the panic attacks with the feelings of being out of control in her life until now and completely understood why now (cognitive shift). She said that her son was very controlling and as he was shifting out now, he was sorting through things and throwing out her things as well and that she felt out of control. So we talked about what some of the positive strategies could be that she could now carry out to feel more in control when it came to her son and she said that she now felt strong enough to carry these out. She also said that it was a last minute panic that she had to drive her son to the airport as he had left it too late for the alternative way of him getting to the airport (she felt out of control and felt being controlled by her son).
I also discussed the ‘out of control’ feeling she had with her near death experience and the ‘floating away’ feeling and related that to the ‘floating away’ feeling of the car every time she tried to move forward.
She now completely understood cognitively and energetically where this feeling came from. I suggested that she continue to use tapping daily and we went through an example she could tap with her ‘controlling’ son and the shifting process. I gave her simplified examples and let her know that all she needed to do was to verbalize how she was feeling and use the set-up affirmation after it then simple reminder phrases as she tapped through the points. I gave her a sheet with a diagram of all the points and the set-up phrase to take home with her.
I described how the peeling back of the onion layer worked and suggested that we make another appointment to see what was next to be looked at under the panic driving attacks. She agreed to practice tapping daily and we made another appointment. (I had a feeling that the near death experience may need to be tapped on next and to find when in her childhood she had felt ‘out of control’ or shifted — Core Issue).