Dear Claire: With the way the world is I’m terrified of getting on a plane – Gazette

Advanced psychotherapist and clinical hypnotherapist CLAIRE GASKIN sees clients in Essex and in London’s Harley Street. She is now bringing her expertise to the problems of our readers as our agony aunt. If you have a problem you’d like Claire’s advice with, email For more details on Claire’s work, visit

Dear Claire…

I am terrified of flying and do not know what to do to try and get over it. In the past I have steeled myself and just got on a flight and hoped it would be OK but as I have got older it has got worse and has left me on the verge of panic attacks.

Since I got married and had children I have managed to persuade my husband to have UK-based holidays or ones we can access via a ferry or car but now the children are a bit older it is harder as they want to travel further afield.

We have a long haul flight to Mexico booked later this year and I am terrified. I cannot see how I will enjoy the holiday because I will be worrying about the flight back and I have actually managed to hide how bad the problem is from my family who just think I am slightly nervous.

Is there anything I can do to cure myself in time for this much-planned, and important, trip ?

Claire says…

For many people, their fear of flying is low-level, sparked after hearing about a plane crash, for example. This type of anxiety can be overcome fairly easily by applying rational logic.

The US Federal Aviation Administration estimates that flying is 200 times safer than driving, for instance. And it’s getting even safer: 2016 was the second safest year on record, with one fatality per 10,769,230 people, worldwide (Aviation Safety Network).

This compares to an average of 80 people killed in road traffic accidents, every day, in America alone (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).

When anxiety gets out of control and becomes irrational, a phobia can develop, triggering your brain’s threat-response mechanism. As you have experienced, this can be terrifying.

You will be relieved to know that aerophobia can be treated successfully.

Some people find the ‘flying without fear’ courses provided by airlines helpful. I use both hypnotherapy and BrainWorking Recursive Therapy to treat phobias in my clinics. The website can help you find a qualified hypnotherapist near you.

Decide on an approach which appeals the most and you’ll be enjoying yourself in Mexico before you know it. Happy holiday!

August 4, 2017 at 09:15AM


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