Fear of flying is an overwhelming fear that is referred to as a phobia. It’s a kind of mental distortion that can be reversed when in a detached state of hypnotic trance.
It is an issue I encounter quite a lot in my practice. Hong Kong has the world’s highest proportion of frequent international flyers and many do so for business. Some of these passengers live in absolute fear of flying.
One of my clients, John F, (name changed to protect client’s privacy) held a senior job based in Hong Kong with a financial overview of his company’s Asian operations. He had been in the job for a year when the stress of taking on the new responsibilities had fuelled an old fear of flying that he had been in control of up to then. He called me to find out if hypnotherapy worked with this kind of fear.
How does hypnotherapy help overcome fear of flying?
A fear or phobia like this is triggered unconsciously and is sometimes impossible to control by mere willpower. Hypnotherapy has been particularly successful with such fears and phobias because it teaches the subject to be attentive to their unconscious thoughts. It does this helping the client access a state of mind that they experience all the time. A hypnotic trance is similar to daydreaming. It’s a relaxed peaceful hypnotic trance that provides the detachment a client needs to retrain the way their imagination is playing tricks on them.
Hypnosis and Neuro-Linguistic Programming
One of the most successful hypnotherapeutic approaches for phobias is an NLP technique called Rewind which has been very successful at scrambling the thought patterns associated with the fear. It works by asking the client to imagine seeing themselves up on a screen going through the whole experience of a flight, then reversing it back and forth repeatedly. With each iteration, the therapist helps the client change the way they see, hear and feel what’s going on, adding humour, jokes and making positive suggestions of comfort and enjoyment until the client can actually begin to feel relaxed and safe again. And in that detached comfortable hypnotic trance, they feel huge confidence at being able to imagine flying in a comfortable state of mind. When that happens, it’s like the subject simply finds what he had lost, a kind of belief in their own feeling of safety. Eventually, his mind can forget that old fear because it doesn’t bother him anymore.
What’s it like to be afraid of flying?
For John, the anxiety generally begins the minute he discusses and schedules a meeting with counterparts in another Asian office, even when the trip is months away. And despite all the drugs and drinks he has on flight, it is still hell. He then stresses throughout the entire working trip because he’s got to face the flight back and the whole nightmare begins again.
Fear of flying is clearly a distortion of the imagination. Nobody really understands how it translates a very safe situation into a near miss tragedy but that’s what John’s mind was telling him would happen.
Disarming a phobia is like miraculously getting out of jail
As for most such clients, it was such a relief for John to discover that there was a way that his mind could safely process the flying experience and that he could feel comfortable about it. After a handful of sessions of hypnotherapy, John was looking forward to his first easy flight in a long time.
The last time I saw him, he was looking forward to taking his wife to Vietnam. He had a one-day meeting at the regional office and then he was going to enjoy a holiday with his wife for the first time in a very long time.
The mind is powerful like that. The hypnotherapist trains the subject to use the power of his imagination to outwit its own negative creations. This makes hypnotherapy a powerful ally to a frightened mind.
That was the first time John really got to know his colleagues. And the weekend? – Best ever!
If you are afraid of flying, it's important to know that you can overcome it. Feeling free and comfortable about flying opens you up to a world of personal and business opportunities!