The winter period can be a time to hibernate.  It can also be a time for those wishing to escape the cold weather to take holidays in warmer climates.  The New Year is a time to celebrate, and maybe you managed to spend time with family and friends that you don’t see very often.  Just imagine not being able to consider air travel to reach your holiday destination or visit family and friends overseas because you have a ‘fear of flying’.

Flying is known to be the safest form of transport, is a fundamental part of modern life and vital to the travelling public.  The fear of flying is a well-known phenomenon.  The reality is that approximately 15% of the population is likely to be scared of flying.

With the heaviest depths of winter approaching, the issue of flying is a hot topic for many, people readily admitting it isn’t exactly their favourite part of a journey.  Curiously enough, many of these people simply put up with their condition, which is all quite unnecessary, as the fear of flying is entirely treatable.

The fear of flying is not a ‘fear of aeroplanes’ but is a fear related to a ‘loss of control’ –either about a catastrophe happening to the plane, or one inside your body! It includes:

  • Concern that something may go wrong with the plane
  • A fear of turbulence and the changes in the sounds made by the plane
  • A fear of being trapped and not being able to get out
  • A worry about suffering a physical catastophe such as a heart attack

All these are very common fears and phobias that can usually be treated and overcome.

“I stood holding the phone! I was shaking! What had I done?”

This was the reaction of a lady in her fifties who had just booked a place on a course to overcome her fear of flying. She had steadfastly refused to apply for a passport until this time, as in her words “That meant I was definitely unable to go abroad.” Her difficulties were far more widespread than just being unable to travel by air. “I was unable to drive a car up higher than the third floor of a multi-storey car park. I was unable to go down the escalators in those modern shopping centres. I did not like lifts, and so it continued”.

Though this particular lady had never flown before, she noted that to her surprise, on taking the “terrifying step” of undertaking therapy for her problem, there were other people on the course, and “some of the others had flown many times, and it was amazing to see how at the start of the course they were just as scared as me”. When people pluck up the courage to find out about the help that is available, many do not know either the range of options, or their own preferences. They can also be concerned that seeking psychological therapy in some ways marks them out as being “weak”, or “stupid”, or even “crazy”.

Throughout the year Elaine runs the ‘The Explorer’, a 2 part course for people who want to overcome their fear of flying.  The first part involves the understanding of the nature of the problem, and the designing of an individualised treatment programme. The second part takes place a week after the initial session and includes a scheduled day-return flight accompanied by Elaine.

To find out more about the course programme and how it could benefit you, contact Elaine Iljon Foreman at Freedom to Fly on 020 8459 3428 or email