By Published On: December 9, 2017Categories: Fear of Flying

Fear of flying is a complicated phobia. One of the most difficult parts of overcoming fear of flying is allowing the possibility of having a different experience of flying. The people I work with in my practice often start our work struggling with detaching themselves from their previous associations to flying. Inside their minds, they have seen their worst Surviving Turbulence | Fear of Flying | Nathan Feiles, MSW, LCSW-Rnightmare play out many times. The story has already been written, as far as they’re concerned. They are simply waiting for reality to catch up.

How is one able to allow flying to be a different experience than the script they have already written?

Let’s take turbulence for example. In one’s conscious and unconscious mind, turbulence is something to be scared of. The fearful flier has already created in their minds what’s going to happen next. And it’s always scary. No one ever tells me in a session, “Yeah, it’s just turbulence (shoulder shrug), no biggie. We bump around and then we keep going. Nothing to worry about.”

The reason fearful fliers don’t say something like this is because the experience of flying has been decidedly something to fear. When a turbulent moment arises in the plane (and often in life), the question always is, what’s going to happen next? They are left with no control, and having to sit in the unknown. A very uneasy scenario for the fearful flier.

A new script

What if you could see into the future and you knew, for an absolute fact, that no matter how bad the turbulence got that you were going to make it okay to your destination on your flight? What airplane wing in skywould that turbulent experience be like then? Would it be fun? Would it be annoying, but not scary? Would it still be scary? If so, why? What would turbulence be likeif you could break the negative thought association and allow it to be its own experience, disconnected from fearful assumptions?

Part of what I find helpful with people who I work with is taking the time to learn about their negative scripts with relation to flying, and using techniques to re-write and experience different scripts.


A more calm experience

So back to the title question…surviving turbulence. One of the elements to overcoming fear of flying is allowing yourself to accept different versions of the experience. If you’re willing to disconnect from the scary scripts, there is room to allow different and more calming experiences. Keep in mind that the script in your mind doesn’t have to be the reality, and that by changing the script, you can change your experience.

To learn more about fear of flying and to start overcoming this phobia, contact Nathan Feiles to discuss your situation.

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