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PTSD Driving


Clinical Study






Case Studies with BAUD

PTSD – Driving

          The subjects were two sisters who had an irrational fear of driving. Both had had accidents due to having panic at the wheel, such as driving off the road and a rear-end collision. Their respective husbands were complaining bitterly about their dependency issues in daily activities. They had each gone to counseling for short visits with no results.

          As could be noted, there was a mutual reinforcement between the sisters that reinforced incompetence, which was reported to have been addressed in their counseling sessions independently. It was also noted that both of them admitted rebellion toward their husbands for lack of appreciation. There was some admittance to satisfaction feelings when they trapped their husbands in household duties.


          Both subjects were administered the BAUDs at the same time. This method was partially based on the principle of mutual reinforcement of positive responses and in full awareness of their needs to support each against the dynamics of their marriages. Each subject has her own BAUD device and was instructed to balance the sounds and create comfort levels for the sounds. The following transcript is the interactions of both subjects:

          TH: “Tell me when you start to panic when it comes to driving a car.”  

          S1: “It starts with me when I start thinking about it. When someone asks me to drive somewhere, I start freezing up. By the time I get behind the wheel I can’t think of anything but to get out of here. I feel the fear in my chest and it is over powering.”

          S2: “I start getting freaked out when I sit down behind the wheel. I can talk to myself all the way to the car, but then when I realize that I could kill someone or myself, I fall apart. I also think my chest so going to explode.”

          TH: “Both of you report the same feeling in your bodies, just at different times, right? (nods) Does it feel like a giant hand against you from outside or does it seem to come from inside?”

          S1: “It definitely comes from inside, it is like something grabs my heart and says no.”

          S2: “Yea, it is an inside job, but mine is more of a force that swallows me up with terrible scene of destruction and it is my fault. It is a guilt trip in advance.”

          S1: “Mine is also a major blow to my self of confidence. It just melts away.”

          TH: “These perceptions sound pretty consistent with what we call “fear of my unworthiness,” and you are hearing things like, ‘You are going to screw up and hurt someone.’”

          S2: “That sure hits home, but it is not something that you can argue with.”

          S1: “I have tried to argue with that force and I still freak out.”

          TH: “Okay I want both of you to hum a tone that vibrates around your heart or you can feel it with your hand (holding their hands to their chests) in that area. Go ahead and play around.”

          After a few minutes, they look at each as if they have agreed on their responses.

          S1: “I have found something that works. It actually feels good.”

          S2: “Me, too.”

          TH: “Okay, turn on your BAUDs and turn the upper right knob until you feel that same sensation.” Both subject turn their knobs and as expected come the same discovery at the same time.

          S1: “We have found that tone. And it feels good to me. Is this the way it works?”

          TH: “Not exactly, but you are on the right track. Do you (addressing S2) fine a tone?”

          S2: “Yes, but I am sure if it feels good.”

          TH: “Okay, now let’s take a trip. Let’s start off with the very first suggestion that you will have to drive somewhere. I want you to imagine this first step, especially you (indicating S1). But let’s stop this fame right here, and turn the upper left knob until you feel no fear. Tell me when you have done that.”

          After a minute or two, they both indicate they have eliminated fear. This process continues through the driving cycle. They stop when they become anxious and adjust their knobs. The specific points to be covered in the trip were:

·       Beginning of the thought of driving

·       Opening the door

·       Sitting in front of the wheel and starting the engine.

·       Starting off

·       Turning a corner

·       Seeing a dangerous driver

·       Driving through a narrow bridge

·       Seeing someone an acquaintance

·       Coming home

·       Stopping the engine

TH: How did you do? Can we do it again?

S1: “I feel good. I am not nervous anymore. Actually I enjoyed myself.”

S2: “Yea, I feel pretty happy. This is strange.”

TH: “Okay let’s do it again and this time we will turn off the BAUDs and just do some deep breathing if you get stuck.”

The subject were conducted in a similar agenda as before, asking the subjects of they were getting afraid at points they were before. Neither indicated anxiety or fear.

TH: “Well, you seem to have managed that well. How would you like to do the real thing?”

S1: “I am ready.  I am actually looking forward to it.”

S2: “Me, too.”


The subject took turns going on a ride driving a car borrowed from a new car lot. They were directed through traffic and bridges. Neither of them indicated any irrational fear in the process, and they both indicated a pleasurable experience, especially a positive response to the car itself. Follow up indicated a continuance of driving without irrational fear.

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Last Modified : 03/02/09 11:32 PM