Recently, I discovered a new way to help clients overcome their fear of flying. I give them a research assignment. Specifically, I asked them to learn basic information about how planes fly, as well as the reputation of their chosen airline with adhering to safety standards. To my client’s surprise, the technique worked, and they have reported back that they feel more prepared to fly or have already returned from a recent successful trip.
Why does this work?
The answer lies in our fear of the unknown. Most of the time, our fears are actually attributed to our poor understanding of any given situation and the solution for fearing the unknown, is to seek an understanding of the unknown.
Our experiences with fear is a good thing, fear cautions us about danger so we may take necessary steps to increase the likelihood of our survival in the event our lives were to become truly endangered. Two keywords: necessary and steps. This is important to remember because taking necessary steps indicate that we are able to implement knowledge and take action to avoid danger and increase our likelihood of survival.
The problem for most people who struggle with phobias is that they lack the fundamental knowledge about the thing they are afraid of. When they increase their knowledge, educate themselves on their phobias, fear of flying, or even social anxiety can all of a sudden become a solvable problem or at least significantly less anxiety-producing.
In either case, education is key.
Fear is not a bad thing, it’s a call to action. A call to action might simply be a call to make needed observations to confirm or dismiss the fear, or a call to initiate life-saving actions.
Ugo is a psychotherapist and owner of Road 2 Resolutions a counseling and life coaching practice in Tucson, Arizona. Ugo helps individuals and families in office and online. If you would like to learn more, you are welcome to call and book an appointment or fill out my contact form and click Send.