Sceptical about curing a fear of flying

Helen was a young woman who came to me seeking help, because her holidays abroad were always marred by the terrible irrational fear that always gripped her when flying. Even thinking of entering a plane would bring on fairly obvious symptoms of fear. She knew that flying is actually a very safe means of transport, but this did nothing to alleviate the overpowering dread. After the first free consultation I always offer, she chose to begin a short series of appointments with me to address the problem, but it seemed to me that she had little faith in my ability - or indeed anyone`s ability - to do anything to set her free from the phobia.

After several sessions, teaching her self-hypnotic stress management skills, which also served to increase the (somewhat precarious) rapport between us, and to reduce the `fear of fear`, I used NLP de-traumatisation to deal with the phobia itself. At the end of that session, Helen was quite unable to reproduce the phobic feeling, however hard she thought about the prospect of flying to her holiday abroad in the very near future. Nevertheless, as she politely thanked me for the work, her manner showed that she strongly doubted that anything had really changed.

Some time later, I read the following entry from Helen in the guest book of my practice website:

"I came to see Dave last year, to see if he could cure my fear of flying. After about 4 sessions, he said he had got rid of my `fear`, but I felt no different and remained sceptical, right until I got on the plane. Once take off started, which is when my fear was always the worst, the feeling in my stomach had disappeared, and has not returned since. I was amazed, and considering I went to see Dave completely sceptical that he could cure me, I am now twice as impressed than anyone else that he could do this for me. I would, and have recommended him to anyone with a fear like mine, and I no longer dread going on holiday because of the flight!!"

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