4 Effective Therapies to Overcome Fear of Flying


For some, conquering their aerophobia can seem like an impossible hill to climb. That´s why today I´d like to show you how consulting a professional therapist can help, with a quartet of effective therapies and approaches that will help you fly with confidence and peace of mind.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This therapeutic approach focuses on identifying and modifying maladaptive thoughts and behaviors associated with the fear of flying. A CBT therapist will work with you to challenge irrational beliefs and develop effective coping strategies. Over time you´ll learn to replace fear with more rational thoughts and approach flight situations with a more positive mindset.

Systematic Desensitisation

This technique focuses on gradually exposing yourself to flight-related situations, starting with those that are least anxiety-producing and working your way up to more challenging ones. By facing your fears in a progressive and controlled way, you can develop a greater tolerance for anxiety and a sense of mastery over your emotions. With the support of an experienced therapist, the systematic desensitisation process will allow you to gain confidence in yourself and your abilities to deal with fear of flying.

Eye-Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

This is actually my favourite. You may wonder what the eyes have to do with aerophobia, but in fact it works with eye movements, sounds, and tactile pulses to reprocess memories and emotions associated with the fear of flying. With the guidance of an EMDR therapist, you will be able to free yourself from past trauma or negative experiences related to flying and change the way you perceive these situations. EMDR will help you transform your thoughts and emotions so that you can approach flights with a new perspective of confidence and security.

Virtual-Exposure Therapy

Use of flight simulators and virtual-reality technology can let you virtually face flight situations in a safe and controlled environment. The therapist will guide exposures according to your comfort and anxiety level, helping you gradually desensitise yourself to fearful flight situations. Virtual exposure therapy gives you the opportunity to practice and become familiar with flying in a safe context, making it easier to face fear in the real world. This type of therapy can be combined with any of the above.

Seeking professional help to overcome the fear of flying is a step towards self-improvement and ultimately freedom. These therapies and approaches have been validated by various scientific different studies and have proven their effectiveness in helping you overcome this anxiety. They´re very much worth a try.

Happy – and fearless – flying!

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

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