Tel: 01582 484444   Mob: 07875 751960

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Telephone: 01582 484444
Mobile: 07875 751960

  • Anxiety Hypnotherapy, Personal Confidence, Weightloss, Addiction to cocaine

Phobia of Flying


“My fear of flying kept me from advancing in my job. It seemed so unfair as I’d worked so hard to get to my position, so finally, I decided to do something about it and I contacted Elliott. Did it work? Well, I’ve just flown from London to Canada and back and I felt relaxed and comfortable the whole journey, so yes!”

A few months ago, flying across the world for a high-flying business meeting with significant financial rewards, wouldn’t have been possible for Sarah from Luton. A young woman in her early thirties, Sarah was building a successful career with a large multinational company and increasingly found herself being expected to travel abroad. But a previous experience of extreme turbulence had spawned a fear of flying – or, to be more specific, of dying in a plane crash.

Why are some people scared of flying?

Some people develop the phobia of flying because of a previous experience, like Sarah’s, whereas others are the victims of their own active imaginations. Either way, we can look at aviophobia as both rational and irrational.

Statistically, flying is the safest way to travel – and it’s getting safer! According to the latest figures from the International Civil Aviation Organization, “The year-over-year accident statistics [2012-14] indicate a reduction in the overall number of accidents as well as the accident rate”.

Yet fear of flying, or ‘aviophobia’, to give it its clinical label, is believed to affect around 1 in 5 people. And despite the statistics above, it’s not hard to see why; we tend to view the world according to logic or reason and, well, let’s be honest, those of us without a degree in aeronautics can struggle with the idea of a big old lump of metal moving through the sky, thousands of feet above the safety of the earth!

It doesn’t help that the kind of language used at airports actually adds credibility to the fear. Words like ‘terminal’, ‘final destination’, last and final call’ and ‘terminating at’ speak to the unconscious mind of people with a fear of flying and reinforce the idea that flying can result in death.

What are the symptoms of aviophobia?

For some people, it’s not actually a fear of dying that underpins their fear of flying. For some, it’s the idea of being trapped in the confined space of an airplane cabin that prevents them from flying. Others fear not being in control.

The impact of a fear of flying can be anything from inconvenient to devastating, with aviophobia manifesting itself in a number of ways, as noted in a study by Matthew Laker from Charles University’s Department of Psychiatry, in Prague: “The most obviously observable symptom is avoidance – sufferers will not fly under any circumstances, fly only when absolutely necessary, or fly but exhibit anxious behavior during flight”.

Anna Dirs from Essex had flown a few times in her life, but from the age of 15, when she says she became more aware of the potential dangers of flying, her imagination began to take over as she contemplated what could go wrong and…a phobia was born.

Anna told Elliott that before her treatment, “It was so bad I’d actually cry, I’d be panicking, holding on to the rails as we went up the steps to the plane… And then totally scared throughout the whole journey. It got to a point when I really couldn’t face flying at all.”

When it’s affecting your life, you know it’s time to get help

It was when Anna decided she’d like to make her young children’s wishes come true, and take them to Disneyworld in Florida, that she finally sought help from Elliott. But it’s not just holidays with family and friends that force people to do something about their fear of flying. Czech researcher Matthew Laker also makes the point that “being improprietously  distressed by, or even refusing to travel as necessary can have devastating consequences to a both a professional career, and also business operations” – as our earlier case study, Sarah, discovered.

Fight or flight? You choose.

When we encounter something that makes us feel fearful, whether it’s a genuine or imagined threat of danger, our ‘fight or flight’ response is triggered. Our heart rate rises, we become wide-eyed, and adrenalin begins to pump around the body – all in preparation for tackling the perceived danger head—on, or for running away from it as fast as possible.

After years of avoiding flying and the inevitable ‘fight or flight’ response it triggered in her, Sarah finally chose to do something about it – you could say, she chose to stop fighting and start flying! And it’s opened up a whole new area of professional development for her.

How hypnotherapy can help YOU overcome your phobia of flying

Considering the enormous impact a fear of flying had on Sarah’s life, you may be surprised to know that she had fewer than five sessions with Elliott before finally being rid of her phobia.

Using hypnosis, Elliott gave Sarah a technique which would trigger calm feelings about flying, instead of the ‘fight or flight’ response her thoughts about dying would have previously triggered. Now, all she needs to do is press her thumb and forefinger together, and the result is a surge of relaxation, quiet confidence, and a feeling of being at ease on the plane.

YOU can do it too!