Shotgun for a Ride of Terror
“I have a fear of being a passenger in a car. I don’t trust other drivers,” Robin says. She says she gets anxious in the car, she starts to belch and soon begins to perspire all over. “When it gets really bad, I start to vomit, and then I swallow my vomit,” Robin explains.

Her husband, Michael, says that for the last 12 years, the anxiety has become increasingly worse and even affected their marriage. “I start to get angry when Robin gets anxious in the car,” Michael says.

“He’ll yell at me. He’ll tell me that I’m being ridiculous,” Robin adds. “Michael trivializes my fear.” Although Robin says her marriage is in jeopardy, her concerns run much deeper. “It’s ruining my life,” she says.

“This is what’s called anticipatory anxiety,” Dr. Phil tells Robin. “And that anxiety is the worst you can experience.”

Michael admits that, at one time, he did drive unsafely and cause Robin extra stress. Now, he says he drives cautiously and calmly, but can’t help but get angry when Robin still reacts.

[AD]Turning to Robin, Dr. Phil gives her the good news. “This is really fixable,” he tells her. “But you are part of the problem right now by getting upset,” he tells Michael. Dr. Phil says Robin’s reaction is involuntary and that asking her to stop further aggravates the situation.

Robin reveals the cause of her fear and an incident so severe, it landed her in the hospital.


Dr. Phil tells Robin that she can “break the psychological loop” that is causing her anxiety in just a few short weeks through systematic desensitization and with some simple steps that will ease her into the stressful situation calmly.