Fear of Flying, The Cure


Hypnotherapy can make flying a joy!

Do you have a fear of flying? How do you know it's a fear of flying? "Well, every time I book a flight or go in an aeroplane, I get this terrible sense of panic or feel very anxious!" That is a typical response I get from clients and it always surprises them when I tell them that it could actually be nothing at all to do with flying or anything related to aviation come to that! Take a client that has flown lots of times, OK they don't love it but they don't hate it either, after all it's just one of many modes of transportation, although it is one of the safest, which makes the fear of it a little odd but travelling at 39,000 feet is a little bizarre, isn't it? Mostly but not always, this type of client, the one that has flown lots of times, very seldom have been involved in an air crash or any other type of aeronautical anomaly, it sometimes just creeps up on them or maybe after a little too much turbulence. Very often what you are looking at here, is an adaptive form of Pavlovian classical conditioning. This is often a case of there being a type of fear conditioning that has happened and caused the inklings of an anxiety disorder, maybe a full-blown disorder. Severe turbulence or any other type of sensory stimuli on the plane you are on can elicit an unconditioned fear response and these very often occur outside of conscious awareness, at least in the very initial stages of the stimulus being presented. It is this phenomenon that can often dupe us to believe it is a fear of flying . . . which it may be but in many clients I have seen over the years; it is nothing to do with flying. I have successfully helped many clients overcome this type of non-aviophobia and during the hypnosis, there is no mention of anything related to aeroplanes, take-offs, landings, turbulence, tin cans or lots of people! However, if yours is a genuine fear of flying, then please read on.

As I said, the fear of flying (aviophobia) is one of the most irrational phobias or fears there is. But the foundation for it is both real and very logical because aeroplanes do crash and for many reasons, e.g. technical problems, weather, pilot error and of course terrorism. It is for these very reasons that it is both impractical and irrational to totally remove all fear because it is a natural and necessary part of our defence system. However, when you think of it, there's no part of life that doesn't contain its risks, if you drive a car and were involved in an accident, chances are it wouldn't put you off driving; even if you were only a passenger! We are nowadays aware that terrorists are totally indiscriminate in when, where and why they strike and that is quite a frightening prospect. However, it is because of that there is far more effort taken to reduce the threat to aviation from terrorism than to prevent the local idiot driver or radicalized lone wolf causing havoc! Logically speaking we should feel safer flying than any other form of transport but that is logic and fear is based on emotion, not logic and therein lays the rub!

The fear of flying is very illogical and because of that, not as straightforward as it might appear to be. It can be caused by the rational or irrational consequence(s) of a correlated fear? For example, a fear of flying (aviophobia) can be a result of:

  • Fear of death (thanatophobia)
  • Fear of confined spaces (claustrophobia)
  • Fear of being locked in an enclosed space (cleithrophobia)
  • Fear of open spaces (agoraphobia)
  • Fear of clouds (nephophobia)
  • Fear of accidents (dystychiphobia)
  • Perhaps as a result of being in any kind of an accident
  • Knowing someone who has been in a plane accident
  • Flying after a recent plane crash

However, whether it is or is not related to flying, it is a learned fear and what we can learn; we can unlearn. If it is not related to flying, then it's merely a case of a little bit of emotional investigation, which can usually lead us to the causal culprit. The takeaway is, whatever the cause, hypnotherapy can usually provide the solution!

When it comes to resolving the vast array of issues that humans face, hypnosis is very often highly successful because of its ability to access the subconscious brain processes (held in memory) and from there, help to uncover the or an underlying cause of the many life-limiting problems we experience. Of course, it is not possible to say something wouldn't happen in any aspect of life, including during a flight, but when it comes to this particular phobia, you have the knowledge that flying is the safest form of travel and therefore the probability of something happening is extremely unlikely. We successfully use probability almost every day of our life when we make any future based statements, such as:

  • I'll see you later
  • Call you tomorrow
  • I’m going away this weekend
  • I’ll be on holiday next month
  • See you when I get back

Of course, we do not know this to be true but, based on previous experience, we assume it is. To that end the efficient and effective use, during hypnotherapy, of such everyday statements become intertwined with the part of the mind most associated with the fear you have; whatever the underlying cause, be it known or not!

Statistically, cars and motorbikes are far more dangerous yet most people would not give up driving if they were involved in a car or motorbike accident. So, from this, we can reasonably assume the fear of flying to be out of context with the risk or at the very least, irrational fear and rarely based on personal experience.

Put in context, flying is one of the safest and wonderful things that has happened to the human race. It has enabled us to visit places previously not possible (at least within the context of a 2 or 3-week vacation). It is by far the cheapest form of travel (cent's per mile). It enables us to see our beautiful planet from an aspect not possible by any other means. It has expanded the travel industry and employs millions of people worldwide. It has brought wealth and prosperity to countries and nations all over the globe. Yet, it brings down upon those who fear it, the most uncontrollable feelings of fear and abject terror.

Hypnotherapy, available one on one in Singapore, is a natural and safe method of effecting lasting change in a person’s life and it brings about one of the most rewarding benefits of being human.

If you are interested to explore how my hypnotherapy services can help YOU to conquer this and many other fears, then why not call for an informal chat or book a Free Consultation?

Thom Conquered his terrifying fear of flying and now has a Private Pilot’s Licence

Flying in Australia 

Thom, just before flying over Cairns harbour Australia in July 2002.

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