By Published On: October 1, 2018Categories: Fear of Flying

In my practice, I have been helping people overcome fear of flying for many years. While the approach I created to help people resolve flying phobia saw positive results early on, it has really seemed to help far more people than I could have envisioned at the Arguing the Past: "You Did Not Say That!" | Nathan Feiles, MSW, LCSW-Rbeginning.

A common question people ask before they start working with me is how effective has my work been. Therefore, I thought it would be worthwhile to give a bit of a window into what has made the way I work actually helpful and successful for many people with a phobia that is often so difficult to overcome.


Personalized to you

As I’ve worked with this method over the years, several things have stood out here versus other approaches that struggle to see consistent results. Most approaches that I have come across over time have a fixed system, or blanket concept to them. This means they do something that is generally applied the same way for everyone, no matter who they are. For many of these kinds of methods, you just buy videos, books, or otherwise. It’s almost like taking a class or reading a self-help book. Who you are isn’t part of the picture. Many people come to me after trying these different approaches, noting the many approaches they’ve tried that haven’t helped.

There are many articles around the web about my approach, so I won’t go too much into all of the components here. What’s worth pointing out here is that the way I work specifically targets the most relevant parts of a person’s mind/body/emotional process — conscious, subconscious, cognitive/thought process, emotional, physiological, and unconscious process.

While the comprehensive nature of this is important and necessary, this makes it possible to do what I haven’t seen any other approach do,  which is to consider and integrate who you arethe individual person with their own personal context and history.

Fear of Flying is different for everyone

A major element to understand about fear of flying is that it’s actually a very different issue for everyone, even if on the outside it appears as a similar phobia and anxiety. What comprises, feeds, and bolsters fear of flying for someone is a very personal setup airplane wing
and experience for each person. For example, for some, catastrophic thought patterns are a big issue, or physiological anxiety brought on by deeper, unconscious life triggers; lack of control, difficulty with trust, and many other complicated underlying factors (I’m simplifying things here for the discussion, but it’s generally not as obvious as one underlying thing. It’s usually a combination of factors that underly this fear).

The point here is that what is necessary to resolve and overcome this phobia is not exactly the same for everyone. The areas of process that need to be addressed vary from one person to the next. That’s why it’s always important to really get to know you first, what in your current process and overall history is feeding your fear of flying, and then going from there.

How has the approach I use changed over the years?

When I first started working with people on fear of flying, I was more inclined to ‘bring the person to the method’. It was still personalized, however it was applied very similarly from person to person, with the ‘underlying causes’ component showing the most variation and personalization, at the time. While this still yielded positive results and people were able to fly with much less anxiety, this tended to produce shorter term efficacy.

At one point, I found myself working with someone whose context made it difficult to follow the original plan of the method. It was clear that following the typical plan wasn’t going to do as much to help. The emotional and cognitive context called for certain exercises to be brought out earlier and reconfigured for the situation, and I also started adjusting the key normalization exercises to fit the particular psychological and emotional context of this person. And the results were obvious. This was someone who hadn’t flown in years due to their phobia, and after our work, they were able to not only fly, but felt like it wasn’t really a big deal to fly.

Long-term results

After this experience, I found myself consistently shaping the way I work to each person’s situation, integrating all of the elements of the approach to what makes sense for the context of the person in front of me. Once I started weaving and integrating the meditating womanmethod with each person, it not only improved beyond the point it already was, but it also yielded long term results.

The key difference is that it both transformed how a person experienced the concept of flying on a deeply emotional and psychological level, and it also changed how people experienced the underlying causes in their daily livesFor example, someone who’s plagued by catastrophic thinking or struggles with lack of control didn’t only learn how to relax when flying, but it also loosened how they reacted to these issues in their daily lives outside of flying (less worrying, less response to perceived threats, generally ‘letting go’ more, etc.).


Overcoming your fear

While this may all sound complicated, a person only needs to come to their therapy or coaching sessions with curiosity and a willingness to look into themselves and talk about their lives. Fear of flying is not a hopeless phobia, even if sometimes the anxiety is so intense that it feels this way. Contact me if you’d like to discuss your fear of flying and how I can help you.

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