Fear of Flying and how to treat it

The fear of flying deserves a special mention as all too often it’s the anxiety sufferer’s ultimate nightmare. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, many potentially phobic situations are encountered at once: heights, claustrophobia, speed, motion, and being out of control to name but a few. Consider also the airport: armed police, security checks, large shopping mall type areas, and a sense of being imprisoned when you’ve passed through customs.

Those that have a fear of flying fall into several types. Firstly the people who have a simple phobia of flying. They are not scared of anything else, or at least not to a phobic extent, but are petrified of flying to the point that they won’t do it. In many cases this is due to a lack of understanding as to how the plane can take off and stay airborne, and how it can be so incredibly safe. When the misunderstandings are cleared up this “phobia” (which is often really just an extreme fear) is often easy to overcome. One way of overcoming this is to do a Fear of Flying course. These can be expensive and often involves a short flight at the end. These can help you understand how flying works, why turbulence occurs, and how dangerous flying really is (Of course, it’s stupendously safe!). This knowledge can make your fears disappear, or become much more manageable.

Of course you don’t have to spend money on an expensive course. There are plenty of good books on the market and the potential for virtual reality, which may well be a big part of the future treatment of phobias.

The other types of fearful flier are not actually scared of flying. They are scared of anxiety and panic, and the idea of feeling those emotions at thirty-six thousand feet is the most terrifying thing imaginable. These anxious flyers too can be broken down into categories. There are those that can grin and bare it, but spend their whole holiday worrying about returning home. And there are those who come hell or high water will not fly, or even set foot on a plane.

For the first group whatever reduces their anxiety will reduce their fear of flying. For the second group it is a little trickier, they have to take a leap of faith, a first flight. In order to do this they need to gain enough confidence to take the plunge. This is their hardest struggle, although it is still quite possible to achieve success. Unless you come under group one and have a simple phobia, I suggest that regression therapy, under hypnosis or otherwise, is unlikely to be for you. It is highly unlikely that your panic response is caused by a traumatic incident or incidents from your youth. My advice would be to put aside the desire for a quick fix provided by someone else and prepare to beat this yourself.

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