Fear of Flying

Fear of Flying 

A fear of flying can affect anyone – old or young, male or female, and people from all walks of life. Affecting around 20-40% of the population, the fear of flying is one of the most common phobias around.  It can range from relatively mild to devastatingly acute and is not just restricted to the flight itself. Even just thinking about going to the airport can cause significant and sometimes debilitating symptoms in the sufferer.

Having a fear of flying can have a major impact on people and lead people to avoid choosing certain careers or holiday destinations. In some cases it can cause significant distress, for example when family members find themselves living in different parts of the world and unable to visit loved ones due to their fear of flying.

Interestingly, whilst occasionally they will be cited as factors, safety statistics are not usually the problem. People with a fear of flying generally know that statistically plane travel is one of the safest modes of transport and far safer than driving a car or even crossing the road. The fear is either learnt (normally from a parent or carer) in childhood, or else is borne out of a bad experience. Whilst that experience may be linked to flying, such as making a particularly bad landing or experiencing particularly bad air turbulence, as often as not, it stems from other fears and phobias such as feeling out of control, claustrophobia, a fear of heights or agoraphobia. Sometimes the ‘bad event’ or trauma that has caused the phobia is known to the sufferer, more commonly it is not.

So how do we treat a fear of flying?  

Hypnosis is just a vehicle for communicating with the subconscious mind so we can re-programme the way we think and behave when our thoughts and behaviours are unhelpful or damaging.

To understand how hypnotherapy works, it is crucial to understand that protecting us is the primary function of our subconscious mind and it will always strive to do this. In 99% of cases, the client knows that their fear is irrational and disproportionate to the risk involved. But despite this conscious knowledge, something within their unconscious does a great job at creating and maintaining feelings of anxiety and panic:

  • the dry mouth
  • racing heart
  • sweating
  • churning stomach
  • feeling that you’re out of control and so on.

I have watched someone in an airport hyperventilate and vomit with anxiety whilst waiting to board a flight. Even though this level of anxiety can seem irrational to many people, even to aviophobics themselves (yes, that’s the posh word for people with a fear of flying), it is not considered irrational by the subconscious mind. In fact, the subconscious mind thinks it’s an all-round excellent idea to make you feel that way as it’s job is to protect you at all costs – to stop you getting on that plane. It has no care for whether you look daft in public, are sick on the person next to you, feel embarassed by the sweat rings under your armpits, pee yourself or feel like you want to run away. In fact, the worse you feel, the happier it is.

But the good news is that you weren’t born with a fear of flying. It is safe to assume that you have therefore acquired it at some point in time. Using advanced uncovering techniques, I take the client back to the root cause of the anxiety, oftentimes found in early childhood, and together we reframe it and detach the negative emotions from it. We then work on creating an armoury of positive emotions and benefits and link them to the problem activity – flying in this case.  Establishing the source of the problem, reframing the event and then releasing the negative emotions in this way leaves the client free to experience airports, flying and travel in a completely neutral or even positive light instead.  Hypnotherapy also helps the client relax and access a calm, focused state of mind to help them better control their fear.

If you want to discuss how I may be able to help you get rid of your fear of flying, please get in touch on 07807 054 706 or email me at julie@sharpmindshypnotherapy.co.uk for a no obligation consultation.   

Copyright 2015 SharpMinds Hypnotherapy