Fear of Flying

February 24, 2012

A few months ago (October 26, 2011) I received this question: "Do you have anything to help a fear of flying? --Justin"

Justin and I communicated back and forth a few times about this. I think the best way to tell the story is to present our messages to one another in chronological order.

October 28, 2011

Dear Justin:
Thank you for contacting me.

As you know, a fear of flying is very real for those who suffer from it and if it is serious enough can be debilitating. Even when it is not very serious it is very unpleasant.

In direct answer to your question, no, I've never found it necessary to develop a program just for phobias (e.g., fear of flying, fear of leaving the house, etc.). They have almost always responded well to standard approaches using deep relaxation and/or self-hypnosis and appropriately structured suggestions.

My recommendations to you are as follows:

1) If you are not already familiar with how to use self-hypnosis, read a good book on the subject (naturally, I think my books are the best choice, but certainly not the only choice).
The source you choose should include the following at a minimum:
    a) deep relaxation techniques;
    b) self-hypnosis induction technique, spelled out in detail;
    c) at least one method of autoquestioning (e.g., ideomotor questioning with the Chevreul pendulum) to get at least some idea of the subconscious dynamics of your fear; and
    d) suggestion formulation and application techniques.
2) Practice self-hypnosis and/or deep relaxation 15-30 minutes daily for six weeks with the
appropriate suggestions you have tailored for yourself.

By the end of this period you should notice considerable improvement.

You may never completely rid yourself of all fear of flying for several good reasons which I won't bore you with now, but you definitely should be able to reduce your fear to a manageable level.

You will know you have arrived (no pun intended) when you feel only mild anxiety at take-off and landing, and you don't give it much though at other times (including while in mid-air).

Best of luck,
Charles Henderson

October 30, 2011

Dr. Henderson,
Thank You for taking the time to answer my question, honestly, I truly appreciate it! I'm going to try what you suggested, and I do hope it works. Just to give you some insight, this fear has cost me big, for example, I wouldn't take a job that would have substantially payed me more, since it involved travel, and I can't even bear to bring my family on a plane for a vacation, which is just down right wrong!

February 17, 2012

Dr. Henderson,
Thank You! I bought 'Self Hypnosis" by you, and read it through and through. I found out through self questioning, that my fear stemmed from watching too much TV, as the media is SO biased towards crashes. I was able to fly with my family nonetheless on vacation, and actually had a blast, and was "calm, confident, and in control" when I traveled for two three hour flights! Thank You Again for "leading" me in the right direction, I'll always be appreciative for this!


February 20, 2012

Dear Justin:
Thank you for sharing this with me. I love hearing success stories like this. Made my day.

The timing of your message was just right for the inaugural article in a new blog I'm putting up. I want to use your story with attribution to "Justin." I could use your full name if you really wanted me to, but I don't recommend it. In fact, if you are even mildly uncomfortable with me using your first name I could as easily use a made-up pseudonym. Let me know if you'd prefer that. I'll send you the URL when the article is up.

Charles Henderson

February 20, 2012

Dr. Henderson,
I'd be honored, if you put me in an article! You can use my first name for sure. I also wouldn't recommend using my last name. You really helped me out, and to be honest, I was out on the web for a while, and you weren't the only one I emailed, however you were the ONLY one who answered. Please send me the url when it's all ready. Good luck in the new blog, and you know I'll be a subscriber!
Thanks again for everything,

Way to go, Justin! You actively pursued the possibility of a remedy for your fear of flying, rather than just passively accepting it. You got your hands on a book (mine, in this case), read it, and carried through with the instructions. And reaped the benefit that you earned.

That's good work, Justin, and I'm proud of you (if I may be).

(By the way, here's information on the book Justin used.)