As a psychologist who has treated many individuals who suffer a Flying Phobia or the fear of flying, I can tell you that by having ta avoid flying, people have missed important family occasions and even lost out on major jobs and promotions. An even larger number of people fly but do so very reluctantly and with extreme anxiety.
Almost 40 years ago, starting out as a young psychologist, I had the great opportunity to assist and eventually, co-lead one of the world’s first group fear of flying programs. It was based out of Logan Airport in Boston and developed by my mentor, psychologist, Dr. Albert Forgione. The ten-session 90-minute program met weekly at the airport and was based on a cognitive behavioral approach for overcoming fears, known as systematic desensitization. At the end of the ten-week program, more than 80% of the participants were successful and able to take a “graduation flight.” Details of the program are spelled in Dr. Forgione’s book, “Fearless Flying”.
As I became more experienced in cognitive behavioral methods in treating fears and phobias, I developed an individual approach to fear of flying based on my training with psychologist, Dr. Albert Ellis. Details of this approach appear in a chapter I wrote for psychologist, Dr. Windy Dryden’s book, “Innovations in Rational Emotive Therapy”.
Over the years, I have taken pleasure and pride in knowing I have helped so many overcome debilitating fears and phobias and in most cases, without the use of medications or alcohol.
If you are seeking the help of a psychologist to overcome a fear of flying or other fears, it is important to inquire if they are trained and experienced in using the methods I have described. While some other methods used by psychologists may also be helpful, methods based on cognitive behavioral therapy and systematic desensitization have a long and proven history of effectiveness for a high percentage of individuals.