There Are A Variety Of Fear of Flying Treatment Options Available
The fear of flying can be an isolating feeling, especially if it prevents you from traveling for work, pleasure or to stay in touch with family and friends living afar. Does simply the thought of boarding a plane fill you with anxiety? Does each flight feel like a terrifying gauntlet? You are not alone.
Millions share your discomfort. With airplanes serving as today’s most convenient form of long-distance travel, overcoming a fear of flying is of paramount importance for many people. For those looking for a fear of flying treatment, there are a number of options available. From fear of flying therapy to hypnosis, many have learned to board a plane with confidence and peace of mind.
To get to the root cause of your fear, you may want to try talk therapy. Find a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist in your area who specializes in treating patients with anxiety disorders. If you are not sure the difference between these professionals, here is a brief explanation:
A counselor or therapist hold a Master’s degree plus a particular license such as Licensed Professional Counselors or Licensed Clinical Social Workers. These type of therapists specialize in talk therapy.
Finding local fear of flying classes or someone that specializes specifically in the fear of flying would be ideal, but counselors with that specialty are more difficult to find. A good alternative would be the SOAR Program, an online course developed by Tom Bunn, an airline Captain and licensed therapist. Part of the program includes phone counseling with Captain Tom.
For more information, click here or see the online courses section at the end of this article.
Discussing when your fear began and possible triggers, you may be able to gain insight into your anxiety. A therapist can help you change your internal dialogue and replace it with a confidence boosting mantra to help you control your feelings of panic.
Many choose to complement talk therapy with anti-anxiety medications. If you are seeing a therapist or counselor, they will often recommend a psychiatrist or refer you to your medial doctor to discuss an appropriate prescription. Medications like Valium can allay the heart racing and adrenaline rushes of anxiety to help you stay calm. With more composure, you will be better able to remember flying is one of the safest forms of transportation and pilots and crews are some of the most highly trained professionals in the world.
The downside to medication is that while it may alleviate your physical symptoms, it doesn’t necessarily treat the underlying issues that manifest in the fear of flying.
Another optional flying phobia treatment is hypnosis. Much like a therapist, a hypnotist will start by helping you get to the origin of your fear. Hypnotherapy can help you begin to associate flying with excitement rather than terror. This technique can also help you visualize yourself enjoying your flight relaxed and in control of your emotions.
There are a lot of mixed opinions around fear of flying hypnosis (and hypnosis in general). I know of people that say it has worked wonders for them, while others have had unsuccessful experiences with the treatment and regard the practice as shady and unreliable. I’m not an expert in this field, so I would recommend more research and discussion with medical professionals if you are considering this option.
If you prefer to address your fears in the privacy of your own home, check out an online course. A number of multimedia presentations are available with practical tips and meaningful insight on how to learn to trust the plane and its crew, to cope with anxieties surrounding your perceived lack of control and to calm your episodes of panic.
One of the cons of online courses as a fear of flying treatment is the lack of a personal touch—some simply prefer dealing with someone in person. The pros are the relatively inexpensive cost compared to other therapies and the ability to access materials by experts in the specific field of the fear of flying. For more information, see our fear of flying courses guide.