New fear of flying course - help to overcome flying nerves and anxiety:

Fear of flying is perhaps one of the most common fears and phobias around (along with the fears of public speaking and death). It's estimated that up to 25% of the population battle with the fear of flying.

This can lead to avoiding flying completely due to the fear and anxiety associated with it, or perhaps simply trying to force yourself through it and living with the uncomfortable thoughts and feelings that come with a flight. Other people may also use alcohol to try and numb the anxiety and help them relax or rely on prescribed medication such as diazepam. And, of course, all these methods can have negative and anxious connotations and consequences that make air travel something to be feared and limited.

I've helped many people to overcome their fear of flying and there is no doubt that hypnotherapy can be a very effective method of overcoming that aviophobia. Yet there is always a leap between the hypnotherapy sessions and then an actual flight. Unless you have easy access to a plane then there is not much scope for testing your therapeutic progress and for having an opportunity to put strategies and techniques into place. There isn't much scope for developing confidence and self-efficacy around flying.

Which is where my new fear of flying course comes in. I'm pretty excited at how well this can combine psychological processes along with education about flying, and the opportunity to put that learning and those calming techniques into practice in the cockpit.

Fear of Flying Course - VR meets hypnotherapy

I wrote a little bit about this course in another recent blog and after I'd had a chance to test the virtual reality simulator (you can find it here: Fear of Flying - Calmly Taking To The Air in a Boeing 737). As I mentioned in that article, the technology is so advanced that you really do get a very real experience of flying.

After my latest visit to the VR team, I recorded this short vlog about the fear of flying course:

fear of flying course hypnotherapy ely anxiety

Watch on You Tube 

As well as the opportunity to benefit from fear of flying hypnotherapy, learn about flying and to experience the VR desensitization session, one thing I love about this course is that it is all individually tailored to your specific needs.

Alongside pilot instructor Serena, I will work with you to help provide you with the skills, knowledge and understanding you need to successfully complete your next flight. The course will include a briefing with Serena, the hypnotherapy sessions, the Boeing 737 desensitization session and he tools you need to prepare you for your next flight.   

To help us to deliver the best possible course to you, we will explore your flying history and experience and call upon research backed tools to understand how and when you experience your fear. We can help whether you have a general fear of flying (e.g. you get nervous when you see or hear a plane or talk about flying), if your fear is there in anticipation of flying (e.g. when you book a flight or are at the airport before boarding) and if you are anxious on the flight itself (and perhaps hyper-alert to any sounds and movements until you land again).

How The Fear of Flyng Arises

Your fear of flying can comprise of many different components and fears all wrapped up into a focus on planes and flying. You may have fears and concerns about crashing, confinement (feeling trapped), uncomfortable situations like turbulence and even a worry that you will panic or that you won't be able to cope. You may also be worried about feeling 'out of control' when in the plane and feel like you want more control (even though you probably aren't a pilot).

Whilst those who have experienced a traumatic or eventful previous flight may well have developed fears and worries about flying, many people who have never flown or who have flown before but with uneventful flights can also struggle with a fear of flying.

In fact, a 2008 research article (reference below) looked into the different flying histories in flying phobics. The researchers studied the flying history of nearly five hundred people who had either never flown before, had flown before but didn't experience any adverse incidents or traumatic flights, and those who had experienced an eventful or traumatic flight. They assessed these flying phobics on a number of reporting scales that looked at anticipatory flight anxiety, in-flight anxiety and generalized flight anxiety.  They also looked at the intensity of physical symptoms experienced and the presence of distressing cognitions.

Interestingly, their data findings suggested that traumatic conditioning through external adverse events was probably a less prevalent way of acquiring fear of flying that had previously been assumed. As they out it, "Most of those with fear of flying had either flown before without reporting any external aversive events or had never flown before."

This then suggest that direct experience of a previous adverse and fearful flight (e.g. accidents, airplane emergency, severe turbulence) is certainly not the only way that the fear of flying arises. Those with higher levels of anxiety and avoidance may apply that anxiety and fear to flying; "...flying phobics without recall of direct external conditioning experiences to flying stimuli could be characterised by higher levels of anxiety and avoidance, because their fear of flying probably reflects more generalised avoidance tendencies and a proneness to over-predict the magnitude and intensity of their fear."

In the study, people who had never flown before did score higher for agoraphobia and general anxiety and manifested the highest levels of anticipatory flight anxiety and flight anxiety in general. Thus the fear of flying can be based, not on flight experiences, but on projecting your general anxiety thoughts, feelings and behaviours onto flying. In addition, your fear may have been learned indirectly from verbal and media information.

As the study says, "Consequently, a possible explanation could be that some people are particularly prone to develop fear of flying by a process of direct conditioning, while other individuals with fear of flying are more susceptible to fears that are socially transmitted by observational/vicarious conditioning or by verbal/instructional learning especially when they manifest highter levels of general anxiety and agoraphobic avoidance."

The good news? The research outcomes demonstrated that fear of flying is a well treatable phobia (in this research the majority of participants improved regardless of their flying history). 

And for those who have not experienced an eventful/traumatic flight, a treatment incorporating education, cognitive restructuring and exposure is likely to be effective (those with trauma may require more extensive help).

Which neatly links back to the fear of flying course that I mentioned above. In the course we include the education, the restructuring and exposure in the Boeing 737 (plus we add in individually tailored support and strategies and techniques you can use time and time again as you fly calmly). 

I'm really excited about progressing this course as I think it has the potential to successfully help a lot of you who have a nervousness, anxiety or fear of flying. And overcoming that fear can make travel a whole lot more comfortable and relaxing whether it's a business trip or going somewhere for a lovely holiday. You can sit back and relax and even enjoy the fight to your destination.

See you on board!

fear of flying hypnotherapy ely

To your success,

Dan Regan 

Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket


Seeking help to overcome your fear of flying? Book your Complimentary Hypnotherapy Strategy Session with Dan now: Appointments

Find out what other people have said after their hypnotherapy sessions with Dan: What People Say

And check out these powerful hypnosis downloads that can start helping you right away: Hypnosis Downloads


Reference: Nousi, Aikaterini et al. “Different flying histories in flying phobics: association with psychopathology and treatment outcome.” Aviation, space, and environmental medicine 79 10 (2008): 953-9 .