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Fear of Flying, The Cure

Concord_in_flight

Hypnotherapy can make flying a joy!

If you experience anxiety or sheer terror every time you fly, then hypnotherapy can help you overcome this terrifying fear. But it might be worth looking a little deeper before you jump to conclusions? Let's presume you decide to seek help to remove this irrational fear experience. The very first thing we need to establish, is, do you actually have a fear of flying? I'll likely ask, how do you know it's a fear of flying? The typical answer is, "well, every time I book a flight or go in an aeroplane, I get this terrible sense of panic or feel very anxious!" Following that, I'll ask a few more questions relating to your perceived fear of flying. And if your answer is also the typical one my next comment will very likely surprise you. Because I say it might not actually be anything to do with flying or even related to aviation come to that! Sounds illogical, right?

Many people have flown lots of times and never had a problem, OK, they may not love it but they often don't hate it either. After all, it's just one of many modes of transportation, it also happens to be one of the safest too! This actually makes the fear of flying rather strange but then, so is travelling at 39,000 feet off the ground! Most people that have flown many times have seldom, if ever, been involved in an air crash or any other type of aviation incident. Mostly the fear just seems to creep upon them, maybe a consequence of a little too much turbulence or something similarly uncomfortable. Generally, the anxiety and fear, seems to get worse, flight by flight.

Sometimes what is happening, is an adaptive form of Pavlovian, classical, conditioning. This is often a consequence of there being another type of fear conditioning that has contributed to the development of a nascent anxiety disorder. Severe turbulence or any other type of sensory stimuli on the plane you are on can elicit such a response. However, in the presence of an unconditioned fear stimulus (turbulence), which often occurs outside of conscious awareness, the stage is set for the development of stimulus pairing. This is where one stimulus pairs with another and one takes on all the attributes of the other! The presentation of these conflicting stimuli can dupe us into believing we have a fear of flying, logic and common sense then join the dots. When you consider the number of people who fly every day, aviophobia truly is a rare event. But, if it's happening to you, how rare it is, is totally irrelevant!

Over the years I have seen many clients where the fear of flying has nothing directly to do with flying, and, have successfully helped them overcome their non-aviophobia. Not unsurprisingly, 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, with provable or observable links to aviation, 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 logical because aeroplanes do crash. There are many reasons for crashes too, e.g. technical problems, weather, pilot error and of course terrorism. For these very reasons it is both impractical and irrational to totally remove all fear because it's 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 were involved in a car accident, chances are it wouldn't put you off driving; even if you were only a passenger! These days we are acutely aware that terrorists are totally indiscriminate in when, where and why they strike and that is quite a frightening prospect. It's because of that risk, that there's more effort to reduce threats to aviation from terrorism than preventing idiot drivers or radicalized lone wolf assassins! Logically speaking we should feel safer flying than any other form of transport but that's 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's not related to flying, then it's merely a case of a more in-depth type of emotional investigation, which usually leads us to the causal event(s). The takeaway is, whatever the cause, hypnotherapy can usually provide the solution!

When it comes to resolving the many issues that humans face, hypnosis is highly successful because of its ability to access the subconscious brain processes (held in memory). From there, it helps uncover the potential underlying cause of the many life-limiting problems we experience. Of course, it's impossible to say something wouldn't happen in any aspect of life, including during a flight. However, when it comes to aviophobia, you have the knowledge that flying is the safest form of travel and 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 through the efficient and effective use of hypnosis, these everyday statements provide the solution. They are carefully intertwined with the part of the brain 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, we can reasonably assume the fear of flying is out of context with the risk, it's an irrational fear and rarely based on personal experience.

Put in context, flying is one of the safest and most 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 people, 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, for aviophobia, is available one on one, in Singapore. It 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 in how my hypnotherapy services can help YOU conquer this terrifying fear, maybe it's time to book a Free Consultation?

Thom Conquered his terrifying fear of flying and became a PPL (Private Pilot’s Licence)!

Flying in Australia 

A quick pose before flying over Cairns, Australia in July 2002.

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