The summer travel season is right around the corner. Is your fear of flying forcing you to skip your dream vacation in favor of yet another road trip?
You’re not the only one stuck on the ground. One of every six adults is afraid to fly
and 3 to 5 percent of the public will not use this mode of transportation. The majority worry that something catastrophic will happen to the plane in flight. Others feel claustrophobic or agoraphobic in the tight confines of an airplane cabin.
Whatever the reason, if you’re afraid to fly, it limits your life. You may miss your best friend’s destination wedding, a special anniversary trip with your spouse to a far-away country or a job you want that requires travel.
The good news is that psychoeducation, coupled with cognitive behavioral therapy, can help people overcome their fear of flying, says Menninger cognitive behavioral therapist John Hart, PhD.
“Anxiety breeds an over estimation of risk and probability,” he adds. “Flying is actually very safe, much safer than driving a car. By de-mystifying aviation, and gradually exposing students to flight situations, we significantly diminish their fear of flying.”
Organized by commercial licensed general aviation pilot Douglas Boyd, PhD, owner and operator of Flying Phobia Help, the workshop features a group psychoeducational session led by Dr. Hart, presentations by two pilots, a visit to air traffic control and a session in a Federal Aviation Administration-approved flight simulator. Upon graduation, students test their fear management skills with a flight in a light aircraft, piloted by Boyd. Dr. Hart also provides individual counseling to students, if needed.
Launched in 2011, the program has conducted 11 workshops, helping nearly 75 people overcome their fear of flying.
Some of the topics covered in the workshop include:
How mid-air collisions are avoided
How pilots handle bad weather
Mishaps in the media: how to distinguish accidents in general aviation from those in airline industry