How to Help Your Child Become a Fearless Flyer

February 20, 2015 - Sin comentarios

Parents who are nervous or fearful flyers may sometimes wonder how they can avoid passing their fear of flying on to their children. Should they hide it? Must they keep the child from seeing them upset on the plane? (more…)...Leer más

A Plan of Action Will Ease Fear of Flying

January 23, 2015 - Sin comentarios

We have been flying airplanes since 1903. By now, virtually anything that can happen has happened. For anything we know that could go wrong, there is a procedure, a backup system, or a warning system designed to prevent recurrence. After learn...Leer más

More About Turbulence and Why It’s Not to Be Feared

January 16, 2015 - Sin comentarios

Pilots who conduct fear-of-flying courses are fond of saying “knowledge is power”. Most insist that if passengers understand how safe flying is, they will not be afraid. It’s not that simple, however. Intellectual understanding does not t...Leer más

Age Differences and Fear of Flying

January 9, 2015 - Sin comentarios

As teenagers, we conducted our lives with remarkably little concern about risk. We seemed to think nothing could go wrong. When we went out for the evening and mom said, “Honey, be careful”, we thought she was from some other planet. Flying is ...Leer más

Tracking Progress Inflight Helps Fear of Flying

December 19, 2014 - Sin comentarios

For many people, fear of flying is really fear of feelings. Some of us regulate feelings of anxiety automatically. But others control them by controlling what goes on around them. If not in control, they become uncomfortable and need to escape. I...Leer más

Dealing With Inflight Turbulence

December 12, 2014 - Sin comentarios

When I’ve flown with anxious fliers, I found many to be extraordinarily sensitive to turbulence. For example, when one said, “What’s that turbulence?” I replied, “What turbulence?” Even when he said, “There, that!” to point out th...Leer más

Top 10 Tips for Anxious Flyers

November 28, 2014 - Sin comentarios

Over the course of many years of treating anxious and fearful flyers, I've come up with various strategies that allow them to manage their anxieties with some success, and have been able to summarise them in a top-ten list. However, before relying ...Leer más

Countering Preflight Anxiety

November 21, 2014 - Sin comentarios

Some who fear flying are concerned about in-flight panic. Others are worried about crashing. A few seriously question whether they will be alive at the end of a planned flight. When someone expresses genuine belief that his or her flight may not m...Leer más

Can Meds (or Alcohol) Help Anxious Flyers?

November 14, 2014 - Sin comentarios

Some people fly without difficulty. When their plane drops in turbulence, stress hormones are triggered by their brain just as in the brain of a person whose nerves get jangled. The person who flies easily regulates the stress hormones - and the ...Leer más

Monitoring Systems Ensuring Commercial Flight Safety

November 7, 2014 - Sin comentarios

As I discussed in my last post, knowing some of the basics of how flying works and how controlled it is can be of significant help in alleviating fears and anxieties relating to flying. So this time I'm going to describe three amazing systems at w...Leer más

57942 written by James Pretzer


It is interesting that you continue to claim that CBT doesn’t work with fear of flying. Have you looked at the research? One quick example is

Treatment of fear of flying: Behavioral, subjective, and cardiovascular effects.
By Trimmel, Michael; Burger, Margit; Langer, Gabriela; Trimmel, Karin
Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, Vol 85(5), May 2014, 550-562.

62442 written by Tom Bunn


Hi James. Haven’t we had this discussion before elsewhere? Please note what the research you cite shows what I have pointed out to you before: that CBT is helpful for mild anxiety, but does not provide adequate relief for in-flight high anxiety and/or panic.

I also pointed out to you before that leading neuropsychologists also find CBT helpful for mild/moderate anxiety but not for high anxiety. The reason is obvious: Dodson-Yerkes Law, which goes back to 1908. Cognitive ability deteriorates with high arousal. High levels of arousal leave cognitive strategies with little cognition to carry them out. I pointed out to you that not all anxiety is produced top-down, and though CBT is useful for top-down anxiety (anxiety caused by thoughts), it is not useful for anxiety produced bottom-up (anxiety produced by stress hormone release due to NON-COGNITIVE action of the amygdala). This is a problem for CBT because, during takeoff and in turbulence, stress hormones are released non-cognitively. Cognitive therapy addresses cognitive, not non-cognitive, processes.

Now, the very research you cite make my point: ” . . . cognitive aspects in High-Anxious did not drop to the level of Controls.” and ” . . . average maximum HR of 137 bpm in High-Anxious . . . .” A flight phobic experiencing an in-flight heart rate of 137 bpm is not likely to agree with you that CBT is working for them.

Yours truly,


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