Fear of Flying 1

“Sara” volunteered as a demonstration subject during an NLP practitioner training I was delivering for staff at a Women’s Aid refuge. Sara had a fear, or rather a terror of flying. She vividly recounted the memory of a situation she had experienced where severe turbulence had resulted in the aircraft she was travelling on losing power during a flight. She described how she was convinced the plane was going to crash. The people she was with were screaming and crying and all believed they were going to die. Even though this obviously did not happen, it was by anyone’s standards a terrifying and distressing ordeal that had left her with a real problem.
Sara became panicky and tearful just talking (she said, even thinking about) flying.

I asked Sara to rate her subjective level of discomfort; “right here right now, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being no problem at all and 10 being as bad as it can get how would you rate the fear?” Without hesitation she replied it was 10!

Many weeks after our work together, I heard from Sara:

“How are you?! I can’t believe it’s been so long since we all finished our course.
Just a little update on how my flying experience is going. I came back from holiday a couple of weeks ago and as we were descending we flew into a storm!

As you can imagine Joe was sitting next to me, looking at me with an expression of ‘Oh oh, I’m going to have a hysterical banshee next to me!’

However, I anchored myself and I didn’t even well up, no anxiety, no morbid thoughts, no life flashing before my eyes! It was brilliant. The turbulence wasn’t brilliant but it certainly didn’t bother me too much, it was just a nuisance!!

I even managed to feel comfortable enough to look out of the window and talk to Joe about how lighting looks so different in the storm than below it!

As you can imagine Joe was quite amazed at the vast improvement in my flying reaction!”

Submitted by Denise Collins Msc Bsc(Hons), Trainer Member

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