A HYPNOTHERAPIST who specialises in flying phobias said some of his patients have missed business trips and holidays because of overwhelming terror minutes before a flight.
Paul Hunter, who owns and runs the Cork Hypnosis Clinic in Ballincollig, said more people are having these fears since society opened up again.
They have reached out to him, desperate to cure their phobia.
They included one man who backed out of a business trip minutes before he was due to board the flight and a father who travelled separately to his children and partner on their annual family trip abroad.
“The massive exodus of people as a result of holidays abroad means I am dealing with a 700% or 800% increase in people coming to me with flying phobias,” Mr Hunter said.
“This hasn’t gone away. The only difference now is that people know they have to do something about it.”
He referred to one heart-breaking story.
“One man came to me who had missed out on two days of the family holiday,” he said. “He couldn’t bring himself to get on a plane, so opted to take a ferry to Spain rather than fly.
“The experience made him realise just how much this phobia was affecting his life. He knew he needed to do something about it and that was why he decided to come to me.”
Another patient of Paul’s feared that his phobia might result in the loss of his job.
“He was at the airport, about to board a flight for a business trip, when he decided that he just couldn’t do it,” Mr Hunter said.
“The company had organised the flight for him, but he was literally too terrified to get on that plane. He came to me because he was so afraid of losing his job. As part of his new role, he was required to travel to different parts of the world and this wouldn’t have been possible with the phobia he was experiencing. Any fear can be debilitating, because it limits us in terms of what we can do.”
Mr Hunter described how a phobia can spiral into an obsession.
“One man came to me who confessed that he had looked at every programme and Youtube clip about air crashes before taking a flight,” Mr Hunter said.
“Most of the people you ask would struggle to remember a historical air crash, but sometimes the behaviour of a person dealing with a phobia can become obsessive.”
The clinical hypnotherapist reassured people with flying phobias that there is hope.
“The important thing is that we own the fear and take responsibility for it, which means not blaming the weather conditions or the person we feel might have pressured us into taking the flight. Fear has its place because it prevents us from taking unnecessary risks. However, you can enjoy things and feel safe while still having respect for limitations.”
Paul Hunter’s new book, Learn Hypnosis: How to Hypnotise Anyone Safely, is available to purchase on Amazon. His recordings can be bought on https://pauljhunter.com/