Why do I have a fear of flying?
Fear of flying - known as aerophobia or aviophobia - can be caused by many factors. For some people it is a learnt fear from an influential person in their life, most commonly a parent. If a ‘parent’ demonstrates a fear response, the child mimics this fear response. Overtime, it becomes a person's natural response to the stimulus or threat.
For others it can be due to a traumatic event that occurred during a flight. For example, being in a storm whilst flying or another passenger getting ill or anxious during a flight.
For some there is no known trigger, or they can’t recall this trigger. It just starts at some point in their life and then can get progressively worse.
Some people suggest that fears may increase at significant points in a person’s life, after having children, for instance. It is thought this may be driven by survival instincts.
What happens when you have a fear of flying?
If you're afraid of flying, anything from booking a holiday, arriving at an airport or even thinking about getting on a plane can trigger feelings of anxiety. The anticipation of flying is often as troubling as being on the flight itself.
These feelings are physical, from an increased heart rate to sweaty palms, a dry mouth or nausea to feeling hot and agitated, and panic attacks.
You can also feel like you’re reliving each moment from the past, images flashing through your mind, like you are there again, second by second.
This is because the part of the brain that controls fight of flight - your emotional or primitive part of the brain - isn’t able to distinguish between imagined feelings and reality, and so creates a physical response that creates a real sense of panic.
How can you get help with your fear of flying?
Most people’s way of tackling a fear or phobia is avoidance. That can work well for a time but what if you have to fly, or not flying is holding you or your family back from doing things you want to do or seeing loved ones?
Family or friends who don’t have a fear of flying may try to help you with reassurance or tips. Whilst they are trying to be helpful, this may work the opposite way making you feel even more hopeless about the situation.
The good news is there are ways to conquer your fear of flying. By accessing our unconscious mind and changing our thoughts and behaviours associated with flying, you can learn to cope with being able to manage getting on a plane and coping with the experience.
Hypnotherapy for fear of flying
Through using the power of suggestion and relaxation techniques, hypnotherapy can help you become a more relaxed, calm thinker, helping you to feel safe and in control of your flying. The hypnotherapist will tailor the suggestions to you, with the aim of helping you recognise what triggers your fear and why, as well as changing your reaction.
I use a technique called Rewind, followed by a session called Reframe. It usually requires no more than 2 to 3 sessions.
I ask you some basic details about yourself. You can tell me how the phobia affects your life and what difference it will make to be free of the phobia. You may not remember the initial moment your phobia was formed but you will have experienced the phobic response affecting you.
We’ll discuss how the brain works, specifically with regards to phobias, memories and how they’re stored.
We use these emotional memories for the Rewind. I ask you to imagine that you’re watching a film of yourself in either the initial traumatic memory that ‘caused’ the phobia or a time when the phobic response was present. Then I ask you to rewind these images quickly. I’ll explain this process in more detail in the initial consultation but essentially, we are enabling you to remove the emotion from the experience.
You may then choose to have additional sessions where you can ‘reframe’ how you’d like to experience the situation. A reframe is when you describe and imagine how you’d like to respond to a situation.
The key is you are relaxed through the process. This treatment differs from direct exposure techniques. By being relaxed, you are not at risk of making the fear or phobia worse, and the therapy experience is not traumatising in itself.
Rewind & Refame for Fear of Flying
To find out more about hypnotherapy for phobias, visit my website page