Keys to Success for Extinguishing Phobias: What Works on Fear of Flying, Spiders, Germs…

Here’s an inspiring and heartening story for you. We got this email from a woman who’d been suffering from a fear of flying that restricted her life and severely limited her options. She describes how a little therapy, some guided imagery and a couple of audios opened up her world again. Here she is:

Dear Health Journeys and BR,

I had to write and tell you this!!!!! I have been afraid of flying for many years, ever since I was a young teenager and we ran into some turbulence on a family plane trip to Mexico. Over the years, it has gotten worse rather than better. The fear became more and more pronounced.

At work I was passed over for promotions in the past few years, because of my inability to travel. My social life and vacation choices were also limited. My fear was an embarrassment and I could not readily explain it. I believe it made me more shy around people and closed me off from sharing myself with others, for fear that the topic would come up.

About 6 months ago, a behavioral therapist who had been working with me on my fears introduced me to your Self-Confidence, and to Emmett Miller’s Freeing Yourself from Fear, and I started listening to them religiously twice a day. I liked that they were different, and impacted me on different levels. My therapist had been helping me anyway, but these two CDs tipped the balance.

My goal was to fly to a family reunion thousands of miles away in Sweden, to honor my favorite great-aunt on her 90th birthday. I knew that if I didn’t go, I’d never see her again, and I’d never forgive myself.

Well, I just got back - FLEW back - from Sweden. Aside from a few preliminary flutters, I was fine. It was very meaningful and moving to see my dear aunt. I enjoyed my family and meeting some new cousins. I am very excited about the possibilities that have suddenly opened up for me again, and I love the feeling of excitement I have about the future. It has been a long time since I had it!!! After thanking my therapist, I wanted to thank you and Dr. Miller.

Nancy W

Editors note: We also highly recommend Fly Without Fear, by KRS Edstrom, which combines guided imagery and body awareness to gently relax the merely worried and skillfully desensitize the totally terrified.

Click here for a Q & A from a man suffering from a debilitating fear of germs – so much so that he washes his hands constantly, avoids touching things when out in public, and avoids going to restaurants for fear of bacterial contaminants.  So, again, here is a person whose choices are self-limiting and avoidant. In fact, you could say that this terrified narrowing of choice is what defines the essence of a phobia.

Click here to learn more about resources for phobias, thanks to a wonderfully expressed question from a woman with a terror of spiders, something she acquired after experiencing a surprise infestation of scores of huge ones in a new house. Her reaction was so strong that even writing the question gave her a case of the willies.