As the holiday season gets in to full swing, a Hypnotherapy Association is highlighting how Hypnotherapy can help clients who have a fear of flying. Fear of flying, or “Aerophobia” to give it its correct title, is actually on the increase even though statistics tell us that air travel is the safest mode of travel. In fact, it seems that as many as half of us have some kind of fear around flying and air travel, although not all of these would be classed as a full-blown phobia. Fear of flying is often more about the “what might happen” rather than what actually IS happening, and these thoughts trigger a reaction in the body that causes the person to be really fearful and anxious. Fear of flying is often centred around the idea that flying is not a natural form of human movement and this arouses natural human fear, ranging from slight nervousness (perhaps being a little edgy when there is turbulence during the flight) all the way through to those who simply cannot and will not travel by air. The impact of this can be massive, not only because holiday options are more limited, but some people can become more socially isolated, perhaps because they cannot get to see family and friends. Others have lost jobs or job opportunities due to the air travel required on business and they simply cannot fly. Sometimes just providing someone with factual information, such as safety statistics and learning about what turbulence actually IS, can help those who are just a little nervous about getting on a plane, but with those who have a severe or phobic response, another approach is needed. Although a successful outcome can never be guaranteed, Hypnotherapy can help by assisting people to overcome negative thinking styles and phobic responses in a safe, supportive environment. Responses vary between individuals and many have found that they have been able to travel by air for the first time in years. Solution Focused Hypnotherapy (SFH) can help with specific phobias like fear of flying by using techniques that assist the client to visualise a preferred future (and in this case it would be one when the whole experience of flying and everything that goes with it is an enjoyable one) combined with relaxation therapy, helping the client to see things from a positive perspective and break the pattern that leads to the fearful, phobic response. It has been seen to be effective and clients are often very quick to respond in as few as three or four sessions. The Association for Solution Focused Hypnotherapy (AfSFH) has been established to promote the benefits of the Solution Focused approach to improving mental wellbeing so that the public are more aware of this valuable resource.
Matthew Cahill is the author of Solution Focused Hypnotherapy: A Practitioner's Guide. He is the founder of The Observatory Practice which is a full time busy practice. In 2006 he was Awarded “Outstanding Contribution to the Hypnotherapy Profession”. He is also Chair for the United Kingdom Confederation of Hypnotherapy Organisations (UKCHO) which is the government advisory board for hypnotherapy organisations.