CBT And Exposure Therapy For Fear Of Flying
Flying is a convenient way to travel around the country and the world. It gives us more access to locations that would be out of reach ordinarily. It’s a wonderful way to explore, see new cultures and customs, and see historical landmarks.
It can also be a completely terrifying experience for people and this is where getting a course of CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) can really help you to overcome a fear of flying. The Fear of flying is especially relevant if you have never actually flown before OR if you had a previous experience with flying that created a lot of anxiety. Making matters worse is all the delays and cancellations of flights since the early days of the pandemic in 2020.
Our fears and anxieties sometimes get the best of us. It is not uncommon for someone to have such an intense fear of flying that they will never step foot in an airport for their whole entire lives. And, certainly, that is their right to do so. Life is already full of anxieties as it is. However, that doesn’t mean that the fear of flying can’t be overcome.
Through CBT and Exposure Therapy, you can learn how to slowly let go of your fears and worries over flying for good. Paris, anyone? Tokyo? London? Hawaii? The world awaits!
Exposure Therapy sounds scarier than it actually is. It is an approach underneath Cognitive behavioral therapy that helps to transform the way we view our thoughts. In turn, this helps to transform and see the connection between how our thoughts influence our feelings and behaviors.
Exposure therapy is a gentle and safe way to desensitize ourselves from the things we fear. You may be wondering how a therapist can do this without actually placing you on a plane. Let’s go over that now.
These are just a few of the ways a therapist will work with you to help you overcome your fears. I would definitely not recommend trying any of these on your own until you have done it in a safe environment with someone who can help to calm you down if need be.
With this, I would definitely suggest looking up gentle search terms such as, “video of a plane landing” or “video of an airplane taking off.” In this way, you can experience what it sounds like and looks like as a flight takes off from the ground or lands at its destination.
Part of the scariness of flying is not knowing what to expect. This can include the sounds that will surround you. While you are looking at videos of planes taking off and landing, be sure to also look up the sounds of an airplane as well. There are video stimulations that will have you experiencing what it is like from inside the cabin and the sounds you may hear.
The movies and television shows often overexaggerate what turbulence looks and feels like. In fact, a pilot will not be cleared for flying if it is expected that there will be severe enough storms to really affect the flight’s safety and that of its passengers. These types of things are monitored very closely with airlines and airports.
Turbulence is real though and can feel a little rough at times. To help prepare for this, a therapist may suggest that you sit in a chair while they shake it safely. This is a good simulation of what turbulence will feel like.
Talk To A CBT Therapist About Exposure Therapy
If you have never flown but have an intense fear, you may question why you feel this way. Working together, a cognitive behavioral therapist can help you pinpoint the source of your anxieties and fears. The full focus of a CBT session won’t focus on the “why,” solely. Instead, it will focus on the “how to overcome your fears,” part. This can be very empowering and often life changing. Learn more about Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) by clicking HERE. Please feel free to contact me at my Honolulu or London and get started today.
I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Hawaii and an Accredited CBT Therapist and Psychotherapist in the UK with over 16 years of experience. My specialties are: Therapy For Gay Men, Life Coaching for Anxiety, Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Compassion Focused Therapy.