Central Hypnotherapy Stockport

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Hypnosis for Flying Phobias

Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Do you enjoy flying?  If not, hypnotherapy can change that very quickly and easily.  Attitudes to flying vary enormously, from general excitement to the out-and-out panic that makes it impossible for some phobic passengers to actually board a plane at all.

Now, I would just like to separate two issues right away:

1). The process of eliminating the phobic reaction with hypnosis, which is exactly the same procedure regardless of how serious any particular phobia is, and:

2). The actual level of anxiety, fear or panic, which varies from cases to case - and usually varies over time as well - which can create the impression that one phobia is "more serious" than another.  In truth they are all the same thing, and quite easy to fix with expert hypnotherapy.

N.B. Strong phobic reactions are very difficult to cure with purely psychological approaches like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or counselling.   Only those therapies in the hypnotherapy field - which would include NLP and EFT, as well as hypnotherapy proper - are really good for getting rid of the problem altogether.

Phobics suffer, and are misunderstood

One of the most annoying things for phobics to contend with is that people who are not themselves afraid are always telling the phobic that there is 'no need' for the fear of flying, that it is 'irrational'.  Whether this view is delivered in a patronising way, or is genuinely meant to be reassuring, it is actually very annoying because: a) the phobic knows that, and b) the intervention makes zero difference, simply because the part of the mind producing the reaction didn't hear it anyway.

The Subconscious never heard the reassurances!

All emotional reactions are generated by the Subconscious mind, not the 'rational' conscious mind, and the Subconscious generally pays no attention to ordinary conversation.  So you can reassure phobics until you are blue in the face, but you are in fact wasting your breath.  And annoying them to the point where they will probably feel inclined to reach under the seat, grab the inflatable life-preserver and ram it down your throat.  Then pull the little cord that inflates it.

To avoid such a fate, do not try to cure other people's phobias through ordinary conversation but instead let the sufferer know that expert hypnotherapy will wipe out the vast majority of phobic reactions in a single session, regardless of the severity of the reaction.

They probably won't believe you, though

Don't be surprised if the phobic finds this difficult to believe until it proves to be true for them personally.  This is the norm.  Let them know that all phobics approach hypnotherapy fairly doubtfully - in other words, they don't really expect it to work.  This does not prevent them from being perfectly successful, much to their own surprise.

How can it work if the client doesn't believe it will?

Because those doubts are on a conscious level, and are perfectly understandable.  If the client has tried everything they can think of to overcome the problem themselves, and the problem is still there (or has got worse), of course the conscious expectation is that they are stuck with it. Fortunately, though:

Conscious expectations are irrelevant

The outcome of the hypnotherapy session is entirely the result of the client's Subconscious response to the case for change put forward by the hypnotherapist.  The Subconscious mind neither knows nor cares what the conscious mind thinks or expects, it is a quite separate mental entity.  It simply weighs the case on its merits, realises it is over-reacting and stops doing it - much to the amazement of the conscious mind.

Individual concerns

Whilst it is true that all phobic reactions are essentially the same thing, the focus of the reactions vary from one client to another, and this has to be taken into account whilst reassuring the Subconscious mind about these concerns.  Flying phobias may centre on a number of issues, including: fear of crashing or emergency, fear of turbulence, fear of being high up,  being shut in, being unable to get off, being unable to breathe freely, not being in control of the vehicle themselves etc.  Occasionally there can be a fear of acts of terror, but actually these are not very common.  And of course, there is the fear of the phobic reaction itself, because it is very unpleasant.

Ordinary fears and concerns

Obviously we can all imagine being afraid in the event of a real emergency, but that's just imagination.  If you can run through an imaginary scenario like that, and then still get on a plane without feeling unduly concerned, then you do not have any sort of a flying phobia.  If you feel a bit concerned, but you are able to reason with yourself that it is extremely unlikely to happen to you, then you do not have any sort of a flying phobia either.  If on the other hand you feel that it would be dangerous to get on the plane and you would really rather not, then you do have a phobic/anxiety reaction, and I can get rid of it for you.

Over the years I have cured many flying phobias, but I have yet to meet one person who has experienced any sort of real air emergency, for such things are extremely rare.  Flying phobias are pretty common though, which proves that the vast majority of them are actually caused by a combination of imagination and negative suggestion, and perhaps a bit of turbulence in some cases in the past.

Other contributory factors

Having treated many cases, I have noticed certain key elements occurring frequently in cases of flying phobias, including:

Rarely flying in childhood, or never having flown until teen years or adulthood.

Growing up with a parent who didn't like flying, or avoided it.

Seemingly okay with flying until the kids were born, then suddenly not okay with it.

Being ill shortly before or during a trip involving air travel.

Serious accident or bereavement involving someone close to you sometime recently before travelling by air.

Feeling obliged to make a trip by air when you would prefer not to do so.

The Subconscious is Emotional, not 'irrational'

I always object to the term 'irrational fear'.  It is dismissive, and lacks insight into the normal workings of the Subconscious mind.  The truth is, phobic reactions are very commonplace, and anyone can develop one at any time, over anything - even if they have never felt like that about it before.  It only needs a certain set of circumstances to occur, and once it is established it can go on like that for years.  In fact phobic reactions often get worse over time, particularly if you try to ignore them, or try to force yourself to "face your fear".

Systematic Desensitisation 

If you go to see a psychotherapist for help with a phobia, one approach they might try is to encourage you to approach the thing you are afraid of in a series of stages, to de-sensitise you by allowing you to feel the fear, but then point out that you came to no harm, so you can perhaps get a bit closer to it - feel the fear again, but go past it...

Actually, this CAN work...  but it can also make the reaction more pronounced, so it is a bit too hit and miss for my taste.  Also, it is distressing for the client.  In any case, why bother? In my experience phobias can be easily shut down without going through that lengthy procedure, and without the client feeling any fear at all.  In fact they spend the whole time relaxing in a comfy chair, so if that sounds more like the sort of help to solve the problem you would prefer, give me a call any time on 07748 838 644 and we'll soon get rid of that phobia for you!  more about this

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

About a fortnight ago, a client asked me if I could do anything about panic attacks, because her Cognitive Behavioural Therapist had recently told her that he "wouldn't expect hypnotherapy to be any good for that".  So I showed her a postcard I recently received from New Zealand, dated 12.06.09, which said on the back:

"Hi Chris, You saw me a couple of months ago to help me get rid of my panic attacks so I could go to New Zealand! As you can see I made it and I am cured!  Thank you once again,


Lovely picture of the Wanganui River on the front.  So maybe what the Cognitive Behavioural Therapist actually meant was that HE couldn't fix that!  I certainly can, so just pick up the phone:

Office: 0161-474-8120 or call/text 07748 838 644 any day, any time.

Consultant Hypnotherapist Chris Holmes BA(Hons) HPD DipCAH is a Senior Registered Hypnotherapy Practitioner (General Hypnotherapy Register) and has been providing effective and confidential hypnosis and hypnotherapy services at Central Hypnotherapy for Stockport, Manchester, Tameside and Cheshire UK since August 2000.

Categories for this article

  • Phobias
  • Panic Attacks & Anxiety
  • Hypnotherapy