19 Apr

I look around at people boarding the plane.  I feel fear.  I click my seat belt.  I feel fear.  The door closes and that means I am trapped.  I know I can’t leave now.  I feel fear.  The plane taxis and accelerates.  I feel fear.  I wait for turbulence to happen. Sometimes it does .. sometimes it doesn’t.  I feel fear as I wait.

These are things that my client said to me when she came to me to help her with her fear of flying.  She wanted to take trips - with her husband, her family, her girlfriends.  But she was afraid.  She acknowledged that she wouldn’t make a hotel reservation let alone a plane reservation - because that act meant that the trip was real.  Even thinking about making a reservation gave her emotional intensity.  She said that her girlfriends stopped inviting her on girls weekends if the trips involved flying - they didn’t want her to feel bad. Trips to see family far away seemed out of reach because driving would take too many days.   

She said simply wanted to look and feel like an ‘average person’ getting on the plane. And, she wanted to feel that the world - with travel, adventures, new experiences -  was open and accessible. Specifically she wanted to bring her little boy on trips to experience new worlds with him. She knew how excited he got when he saw a plane.   

She had a trip coming up within about 8 weeks.  We scheduled 6 sessions.  Carefully, slowly, intentionally … we worked through her fear.  Together we moved through the journey from planning and booking a trip to landing at her destination … and we paused and tapped on any part of the journey that invoked that heightened sense of fear.   After our sessions I gave her homework - to make the hotel reservation, to work on her playlist, to pack .. all things that she said she never would have done in advance.  Each session took us further and further into the journey.  We discussed and uncovered specific details to work through.  We tested and re-tested - for any remaining fear.    

We worked on a future vision.  Seeing herself get on the plane looking calm and relaxed, seeing herself interested in other passengers, not afraid of them.  Imagining herself sleeping, relaxing, reading during the flight.  Observing how she was enjoying the process and excited about her destinations.   We created an anchor and trigger phrase to use and remember - as she clasped her hands together she repeated in  her mind  ‘I am safe‘.  I made a customized recording for her which reinforced that future vision.  On her own, and before we were through she had put in her application for TSA pre-check. She started bringing her little boy to the airport to watch planes.   

She worked hard.  She was vulnerable and consistent.  She said she had never vocalized her fears and even that made her feel better.  Each session gave her more and more confidence that she was capable of this change.  She took her trip and felt empowered by having tools.   

In a message I will never forget she sent pictures.  In one she was in the cockpit with the pilot.  In another she was riding horseback with her husband on a beautiful beach.  Those pictures are why I do what I do - to empower clients to tap into their power, to help them to open up unknown and exciting worlds, and to watch in awe and gratitude as they get on that plane and fly.   

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