Fear of flying tends to fall into two very distinct categories:
1. Fear of crashing
2. Claustrophobia (fear of confined spaces)
Fear of crashing, or more specifically - of dying - is by far the most common one, so I will discuss that fear here. Sometimes there is a mix of fears, people often complain of 'not being in control' when they are in an aeroplane, because they do not realise it is not about control, it is about either fear of crashing or claustrophobia.
When I treat people for fear of flying the first thing I do is establish what the fear really is before any hypnosis is carried out. Typically there is a history of being confident or even enjoying flying up until a traumatic episode, usually turbulence or some kind of mishap or danger.
Some hypnotherapists use hypnosis to convince people that flying is Safe. This is also the practice of some of the big, international airlines (no names mentioned) that run special courses to help people with fear of flying. I NEVER do this for a number of reasons, firstly, like any other form of transport flying does has its dangers, however slight - it is not totally safe. Secondly, the person with the fear already knows this fact perfectly well. A much more powerful form of treatment is to get the sufferer to ACCEPT the tiny dangers of flying, rather than to take them into some kind of denial which will inevitably lead to a return or even a worsening of the problem sooner or later.
It is quite understandable that some of us build up these tiny risks, magnify them and dwell on them and get them all out of proportion. Those who have powerful imaginations are most likely to do this - usually quite unconsciously, in fact people with powerful imaginations are much more likely to suffer from any kind of phobia, regardless of intelligence. The media do not help, because it is their job to be sensationalist and to focus our attention on disasters
Ask yourself this question. If you were asked to give a talk to a class of very small schoolchildren about the safety of flying, what would you do? (Assuming you had no choice and had to give the talk!) Would you pass on your fears? Or would you tell them the truth about flying - assuming you know it. The truth is that, although not completely safe, flying is by far the safest form of transport by many, many thousands of times. Safer for those children than being in a car with their parents; safer than being in a coach; safer than being in a train; safer even, than being on a bicycle.
Close to Heathrow Airport in London is the M25 Motorway. Every year dozens of people die on that road, in fact over 3000 people lose their lives in road accidents every year in the United Kingdom. On the other hand, if you stand right next to the M25 and watch as planes land on the runway at Heathrow, you would have to stand there a long time until you saw one crash. It may seem miraculous that these big, tin boxes flying so close overhead will all land safely, but in over 50 years their has NEVER been a fatality from a plane landing at Heathrow. Yes, one plane crashed on takeoff in 1974, but that was because the pilot was so drunk, he was seen staggering before he boarded the plane.
Fifty years...that's a long time.
This does not mean that flying is totally safe. Of course it isn't, but during hypnosis, the deep, irrational, subconscious part of your mind (from which the fear stems) will gently be asked to accept the tiny risks, so that you, yourself can feel much more relaxed, just like most of the other passengers can. In fact you will be told, under hypnosis, that from now on, you accept the risks, as much as the pilot and crew of the plane.
There's no point in telling those children a lie. There's no point in kidding yourself that flying is totally safe. But if instead, onceyou accept the tiny, tiny risks of flying fully and totally you will find a kind of peace, and even find an enjoyment to flying. Just like those who had to fly during World War Two in huge planes that came under enemy fire. They accepted the risks and even joked them over the intercom.
When you fly in a civilian aircraft the flight will almost certainly be much more boring and the risks will be tiny by comparison. If talking to that group of children you have a choice - you could tell them that those tiny risks are unacceptable and that they should not risk flying too often, or avoid flying regularly for work or holidays. But the best thing to tell them is that although fling is not totally safe, it is FINE for them to commit themselves to a lifetime of holidays or work trips that involve flying. In the last 20 years about 60,000 people, men, women and children, have died on the roads in the UK. In that same time period only a tiny handful (not even hundreds) of UK citizens have died in plane crashes.
Most planes have at least four safety back up systems for every function on the plane. Not only that, but they are all checked and double checked in strict rotation by every airline.
Imagine that group of children avidly listening to you telling them this. Then they file out to play laughing and carefree and confident about flying....and you have done a good thing. You have not passed on your fear. You have told them the truth about flying. It is NOT completely safe...LIFE is not completely safe and never will be. They can commit themselves to a lifetime of flying, knowing that though not perfectly safe, it is the safest form of transport by a very, very, very, long margin.
The hypnotic suggestions you will hear are about accepting the risks and finding an incredible relief and freedom and joy...just like those little children experience when flying. Once you accept a risk, there’s nothing to think about, nothing to review, nothing to go over again and again. Just like the pilot of the plane...he or she has accepted the risks...that's why they can forget them and just get on with the job.
After the hypnosis you will hopefully be able to handle flying just like all those other people out there who probably don't realise how lucky they are to be able to get on board a plane and think little of it. In fact you will very likely feel more relaxed than those people, because many of them will still be using the tactic of kidding themselves that flying is totally safe. With the help of hypnosis you can 'leap frog' over them and find yourself in a much more enlightened position. The position of accepting the tiny dangers...and therefore forgetting about them.
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