Help! I’m Afraid to Fly
If you’re afraid to fly, you might feel like you’re missing out on adventures or career opportunities because of your travel limitations. The good news is that with the right help, you can overcome your fear of flying and enjoy the long-term benefits of addressing your phobia head-on.
Our team at Thriving Center of Psychology knows how debilitating it can feel to get on a plane when you have a phobia about flying. That’s why we offer comprehensive services to help you face your fears in a safe, nonjudgmental setting.
Why you might have a phobia about flying
Aviophobia is the medical term for a fear of flying. If you have this type of phobia, it’s likely that you experience an overwhelming sense of panic when flying. You might even become fearful and anxious just thinking about boarding a plane.
While the root cause of this type of phobia still isn’t understood well by the medical community, it’s likely that your anxiety about flying on an airplane is the result of a combination of phobias.
It’s actually rare for people to develop a fear of flying because of a traumatic experience on past flights. Rather, anxieties might stem from a fear of heights (acrophobia) or a fear about being in an enclosed space (claustrophobia).
When you should seek treatment for a fear of flying
Many people seek treatment for their fear of flying only when they have no choice but to fly somewhere, such as for a family emergency or for their job.
However, you can get started on treatment to overcome your fear of flying at any time, so you’ll be ready to go when the opportunity arises. Undergoing treatment when you don’t have a flying commitment in store might make treatment a little easier, because you won’t be under pressure.
Some common warning signs that might indicate you have a fear of flying include developing anxiety when thinking about flying, experiencing intense fear when flying, or avoiding air travel for five years or more.
You might also experience physical side effects when flying or thinking about flying, such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Increased heart rate
In severe cases, people with aviophobia can experience a full-blown panic attack if they have to fly. This episode of panic can be terrifying and increase your resistance to getting help for your flying phobia.
How therapy can help you fly without fear
There are a number of therapeutic techniques our experts at Thriving Center of Psychology offer that can help you address specific phobias, such as a fear of flying.
Some available therapy options include:
- Talk therapy (psychotherapy)
- Group therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Neurofeedback training
Our team also offers innovative virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) to help you overcome your fear of flying.
The benefits of virtual reality exposure therapy
Virtual reality exposure therapy can help reprogram what you think about flying. With VRET, we create a virtual reality environment just for you using virtual reality cameras to record real-life situations, all while qualified therapists guide you.
This can help you learn to overcome your phobia in a virtual situation to help you break your negative association with flying. Using VRET, our therapy team can address your unique reactions to flying and help you fly with confidence.
To learn more about the benefits of virtual reality exposure therapy and other solutions to overcome a fear of flying, book an appointment online or over the phone with Thriving Center of Psychology today.
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