Fear of flying and Hypnosis

WHEN FLYING BECOMES TOO MUCH TO CONTEMPLATE, AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH CAN SMOOTH TURBULENT FEELINGS. WHEN FLYING BECOMES TOO MUCH TO CONTEMPLATE, AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH CAN SMOOTH TURBULENT FEELINGS. WORDS PAMELA MOFFAT In evolutionary terms, the human ability to take to the skies has been a very recent development and was certainly not acquired through the slow process of natural selection. I often think this could be the reason I, like many others, have never been at ease with flying. Over the past few years, my reluctance to board a plane seems to have escalated into a phobia and has even resulted in a last-minute dash to the GP for a tranquilizers-last year I avoided flying altogether. Now my family is desperate to return to our favoured holiday destination, Menorca, but even after searching for deals on the internet left me physically shaking and with my heart pounding. We missed out on a well-priced break due to my reluctance to commit. Thankfully, we now have a trip away confirmed as my husband took over the booking process and I finally realised it was time to seek professional help. The fundamental flaw with fear of flying courses organised by airlines is that they culminate in a short flight, an inconceivable thought for an aviophobe. The mere suggestion of traveling to an airport can cause increased heart rate, shakes, and stomach cramps, so there's little likelihood of intentionally booking to go on a joy ride. I found myself searching for an alternative approach and came across Edinburgh based Hypnotherapist and NLP Practitioner Andy MacArthur. The most common issues he works with are panic attacks, stress, and loss of confidence, with around 20 percent of clients booking due to their fear of flying. But MacArthur reveals, Normally there is something more going on. With the fear of flying there is a big control factor involved, which is closely related to anxiety disorders. Sometimes a phobia will be created due to a significant event during a flight. Therefore everyone needs to be treated as an individual and surprisingly, there is no digging up of past issues. I work content -free, ie, I don't need to know the details, he says. The key to the success of MacArthur's work is how strong the intention is for the person to change. The session is completely confidential and mainly chatty, though MacArthur reveals he is using conversational hypnosis and Integral Eye Movement Therapy. We discuss how it becomes second -nature to over analyse and fear the worst, learning coping strategies such as deep breathing and relaxation. When I feel tense I must slump into a relaxed pose and switch negative mental images for positive versions. I will retrain my brain and switch thoughts of turbulence for an image of the waves bouncing underneath my lilo in the swimming pool. With almost 15 years of experience and an obvious passion for empowering people, MacArthur makes the reasons behind feeling s of anxiety sound very easy to change. The only time during the session I become uncomfortable is when I'm asked to visualise myself aboard a plane and I actually feel quite upset to think of the trembling wreck I turn into. It's much more comfortable to picture myself as a relaxed European traveller with big sunglasses and a whiff of expensive duty-free perfume. MacArthur explains that the anxiety I feel about flying is not a phobia, as it also presents itself more mildly in other situations - mainly when I'm not in control and often when my husband is driving, much to his bewilderment as he is a very competent driver. There is a spell of deep relaxation [hypnosis without humiliation], and though I just feel that I'm relaxed and listening, MacArthur's voice seems clearer and I've to imagine relaxing in a garden, meeting the version of myself I admire and associating the feelings with the image of a flower. Visualising positive images is far preferable to wasting mental energy predicting all the worst-case scenarios that could happen on board a flight. Another topic of conversation is the familiarity principle - making choices due to their perceived safety. This is something I'm accomplished at, admittedly returning to the same Balearic island on several occasions. However, I do realise that becoming familiar starts with being unfamiliar. Following the session I genuinely feel empowered and, if the nerves kick in, I know the strategies to control them. The morning after the session, when my husband thrusts our booking confirmation at me and asks me to check the flight details are correct, the only feeling I have is excitement. Later, I hear that a plane has performed an emergency landing because an engine caught fire and I feel unconcerned that I will be flying soon. In the past, this would have caused severe anxiety. Although I haven't flown yet, I'm convinced it will be fine. Certainly, car journeys with hubby in the driving seat are no longer a white knuckle ride. Sun, sea, and sangria, here I come. An intensive breakthrough session costs £150 for 2 hours with Andy MacArthur at Beautiful Mind 07983 472 865 SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY SPECTRUM MAGAZINE 16TH JUNE 2013


© 2020 by Andy MacArthur, Clinical Therapist.