Dear Travel Guru –
My son is graduating from the University of California in May and I live in Mont Claire, NJ. I’m so proud of him and of course I want to go to the ceremony, but I’m terrified of flying. I’d go by train if I could, but I just can’t take that much time off from work in May.
Do you have any suggestions of what I can do to overcome my terror of flying? I’ve always been nervous about it, but after 9/11 and with the recent airline mishaps, I’m so much more anxious.
Dear Sharon –
You are not alone in your fear of flying. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in spite of the fact that flying is considered to be one of the safest forms of transportation, 19.6 million Americans are afraid to fly.
There are many issues that can contribute to the fear: fear of enclosed spaces, fear of heights, fear of terrorism or crash….
There are a number of ways to address and even overcome fear of flying. Some people respond well to education – learning about the functioning of an aircraft. Others require behavioral therapies.
If you believe you might respond to education, try signing up for the free online “Fear of Flying Help Course.” The program was developed by an airline pilot, and walks you through issues such as:
1) Fear and Anxiety
2) The People Who Work in Aviation
3) The Aircraft and its environment
4) Your Strategy for Success
5) A Virtual Practice Flight.
The course is FREE but if the course was successful for you, a donation is requested to support the ongoing program. An audio course for $19.95 and a DVD for $39.95 are also available. Both programs are available in MP3 downloads for $10 less.
There are many online courses that sell for more as well and that may assist you. Only you will know if an online program might be the right solution for you.
If you decide therapy is the better way to go, find a therapist trained in cognitive behavior therapy and systematic desensitization to work with. You may want to seek someone whose practice specifically includes overcoming fear of flying.
Sharon, good luck and congratulations to you for your courage in trying to overcome this fear.
Best regards and congratulations to you and your son on his graduation!
The Travel Guru
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