OTC Ep. 30 – Trucker Therapy With Buck Black, LCSW
Show Notes: Trucker Therapy
Being on the road comes with its own set of challenges. In this episode, John Dennis speaks with Buck Black, LCSW about helping this very important, but under served, population.
Meet Buck Black:
Since 2009, Buck has specialized in helping truckers manage the unique challenges that they face with life on the road. Buck is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, a Licensed Clinical Addictions Counselor, a Certified Sex Therapist, and a Certified Financial Social Work Counselor.
May 2018: Bureu of Labor Statistics: Heavy/Tractor Trailer Truck Drivers make up 2 million people nationwide
Challenges of being on the road
- Physical: sitting for long periods; lack of nutritious foods available; sleep deprivation
- Emotional: being away from home so much, depression, anxiety, stress
What is trucker therapy?
- Therapy that specializes in helping truck drivers
- Sessions are usually held over the phone or via video conference call, sometimes in the office
- Due to licensure requirements, the trucker’s home address must be in the same state that the counselor is licensed in
- Also, the client needs to verify with their insurance carrier that teletherapy is covered under their plan
What are some trends you are seeing?
- Poor sleep quality—noisy environment, lack of sleep
- Poor nutritional quality
- These things can cause the mood issues: anxiety, depression, anger, etc
- Relationship issues: it’s hard being on the road so much, away from families, spouses. Marriages are by definition a “long distance relationship.” Sometimes truck drivers are single and do not have the opportunity to form relationships; this leads to loneliness.
- Many trucking companies are now beginning to see the value in offering EAP therapy services to their employees—helps in employee retention
Myths about Truck Drivers
- Truck Drivers are tough guys who don’t need to talk about their feelings; they do have feelings and it’s helpful to talk to someone
- Pills can solve problems; they can help, but not always
- Some truckers think that they are not allowed to take any psychiatric medication while driving; however, as long as your doctor says it’s ok to drive, meds can be helpful
- Truck drivers are ok to just keep driving for months on end without taking extended breaks; they need to realize they are not “machines,” they are human, and they need to have home time
Helpful tips for truck drivers:
- Instead of focusing on negative talk-radio for hours and hours, try to listen to some music instead
- To help with boredom and “too much time to think”—focus on positive self-talk, don’t focus on the negatives, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be very helpful
- Realize that you need some “home time”
How can truck drivers work on marriage (and parenting) while on the road?
This is a very common concern. Do video chats back home as often as possible. Don’t save it for the end of the day; prioritize it earlier if possible while you still have energy. Try to have 1 on 1 chats with your partner/spouse. Try to keep conversations positive. Save very serious conversations until you can discuss them in person. Avoid texting about very serious things. Again, save it for an in-person conversation. Avoid being on the road for weeks and weeks at a time.
How can truck drivers find a therapist?
- Search for therapists who offer telemental or teletherapy
- Don’t get too hung up on finding a therapist who specializes in truckers. All licensed counselors have the skills to help with issues that truckers face. Look for someone that you feel comfortable with
What do you wish truck companies knew about their drivers?
- We are all social beings and need social connections
- Drivers need home time
- Mental health and physical health are related; both are important
Contact Buck Black via Facebook or at www.buckblack.com