Fear of flying is a very common condition with some studies suggesting one-in--five members of the public experience it. In fact it is so widespread it has at least five different psychological terms – aeruophobia … aerophobia … aviophobia … aviatophobia or even pteromechanophobia. So if you are among those suffering from this phobia, you are not alone.
It is worth remembering however, that the risks associated with flying are so low that one`s fear is rendered irrational by conventional science. For a start, you are 29 times more likely to be in a car accident than a plane accident.
Considering most people are in a car on an almost daily basis, there is far more reason to fear cars than planes.
Air travel is statistically the safest way to travel, and the UK has one of the best records in the world for air safety. So why are so many people scared of flying?
Well, for a start there is a big difference between what is sometimes called intellectual intelligence and what is known as emotional intelligence.
With intellectual intelligence you may be aware of the facts and the statistics but there is still a doubt in your mind. You still need to establish the emotional intelligence to lose that fear.
Fortunately hypnotherapy has been proved to be an effective and relatively quick way of helping people achieve that emotional intelligence to overcome fears which have built up and been re-enforced by repeated phobic experiences.
Passenger anxiety, lack of control associated with not actually driving the plane oneself, is often a part of the problem. The difficulty of trusting a pilot and his or her competency at the controls of a man-made machine can be a frightening thought.
Then there is the fact that when you do not understand the noises and turbulence encountered while flying, imagination can lead you to assume the worst. Over the years the Therapy Partnership has found that often the original cause of someone's flying phobia has been experiencing a particularly difficult flight with lots of severe turbulence.
In addition there can be feelings of claustrophobia as you are confined to a small cabin, and a fear of heights to contend with as you cruise at thirty thousand feet.
Recently the fear of terrorism has been added to the list. Clearly, there are a lot of factors at play to make one feel uneasy.
Thankfully help is never far away and there are numerous courses available to help people overcome their phobia of flying. Obviously the Therapy Partnership offers a short course of hypnotherapy which includes learning a system of self-hypnosis combined with simple method of developing a sense of being calm and in control plus helpful visualisation techniques which helps to change expectations.
In addition there are other techniques which tend to emphasise one or more of the following solutions:
Educate yourself – once you know more about the way planes work and the rigorous safety procedures that are adhered to at every stage of the flying experience, you can make more rational conclusions about the level of risk involved and calm yourself down.
Get some support – talk to others in a similar position and use your shared experiences to improve.
Desensitise yourself – repeated exposure to planes (or to thoughts about planes) followed by the use of relaxation techniques can help you to deal with the problem head on.
Of course, hypnotherapy has proved just as effective in helping people to overcome a phobia of flying as it has with all other phobias.
It can help people to feel comfortable with the lack of control associated with flying, and can also help to channel fear away. Most importantly, people can learn self-hypnosis techniques to overcome the phobia as it happens. See our article on self-hypnosis.
The Therapy Partnership has extensive experience of helping people overcome their fear of flying. With this new confidence they are able to go on to fly regularly without further problems.