A Therapy Called EMDR to Overcome Fear of Flying: A Step-by-Step Guide


Today I want to talk to you about a powerful and transformational therapeutic approach that both my team and I use to help people overcome their fear of flying: EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). If you feel a knot in your stomach every time you get on a plane and decide to seek professional help, let me guide you through this process step by step. You’ll discover how EMDR treatment can free you from fear and take you on a flight of freedom and confidence. These are the four key points with which EMDR will help you overcome your fear of flying.

Laying a Solid Foundation

The first step is to establish a strong and trusting therapeutic relationship with your therapist. The goal here is to understand the underlying causes of your fear and explore how it has affected your life. Your therapist will guide you through a comprehensive assessment process to identify past experiences related to fear of flying and understand how these experiences have shaped your current thoughts and emotions when you get on an airplane.

Creating a Personalised Treatment Plan

Once you’ve shared your experiences and concerns with your therapist, you will work together to create a treatment plan that is tailored to your unique needs. This will include identifying the specific aspects of fear of flying that you want to address and setting clear, achievable goals for the EMDR process.

Reprocessing Traumatic Memories

The core of EMDR treatment involves the reprocessing of traumatic or triggering memories that are related to the fear of flying.
This is possible thanks to one of the keys of this therapy: work with the bilateral stimulation of both hemispheres that favors the natural processing of information. We do the same thing naturally during sleep, but with EMDR we can activate this process while awake to give your brain a second chance to process events that were experienced as very dangerous in the past and that have been stored as traces. maladaptive memory.

Using eye movements, sounds, or tactile pulsations to activate bilateral stimulation, your therapist will guide you through the reactivation and reprocessing of these memories, allowing associated thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations to be released and transformed.

Strengthening Your Internal Resources

Throughout the EDMR process, your therapist will help you identify and activate positive resources and inner strengths that will help you deal with your fear of flying more effectively. This can include visualising positive images; recalling moments of success and safety; and developing self-regulation skills to manage anxiety during flights. All this will be enhanced and installed with bilateral stimulation to help you internalise these resources.

As you progress through treatment, your therapist will guide you through a phase of consolidation and closure, and will ensure that you have solidly integrated the positive changes and that you feel equipped to face future flights with confidence and composure.

Founder of the Lanzas InstituteDavid Lanzas is a psychologist specialising in anxiety and trauma.

Happy – and fearless – flying!