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Driving Anxiety and Desensitization Program: A New GLA Initiative

A car accident is a traumatic and scary event. In the weeks and months following the accident the main focus is generally on physical, cognitive and emotional rehabilitation. A treatment team works with a client to repair muscles and increase endurance, improve memory and concentration and to help him or her develop coping skills.

What is often overlooked is that some clients will experience a lasting fear of driving or riding as a passenger in a car. While it’s not surprizing that after a serious car accident a person may develop a fear of driving, most people do not receive treatment targeting this serious problem.

GLA is now offering a new program aimed at reducing fear and anxiety around driving for clients who have been involved in a car accident. This program will complement our driving assessment and rehab program “Road to Recovery”.

We have partnered with Dr. Denise Milovan, a Clinical and Neuropsychologist with expertise and experience in helping clients with anxiety disorders. Dr. Milovan has a private practice and also has experience with the Complex Injury Outpatient Rehab program at Toronto Rehab.

The program is collaborative and Dr. Milovan will communicate with the client’s OT and RSW prior to the first session in order to understand the issues that the client is experiencing and how they are impacting function.

Following this Dr. Milovan will meet with the client to develop goals and to better understand the nature of the anxiety. She will work with clients to understand and challenge the issues they are experiencing related to anxiety and coping as a whole as well as specific anxiety related to driving. Using a whole-person approach to treatment is important as we know that any specific anxiety must be treated within the context of the client’s overall emotional status.

Throughout the program, Dr. Milovan will continue to work collaboratively with our OTs and RSWs to treat driving anxiety using a cognitive-behavioural and desensitization approach. The client’s OT and RSW will help to intensify and underscore the strategies developed in psychology treatment sessions.

Our aim is to help clients feel less anxious about driving or riding as a passenger in a car as well as to improve overall daily functioning and coping. We will be engaging in research for the project and will use outcome measures to evaluate the success of the program.

If you would like to refer a client to this program, please contact us and we will be happy to facilitate the registration.