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Fear of Flying

Fear of Flying

Is your fear of flying stopping you from travelling to overseas destinations?

Fear of flying is very common and statistics show that 500 million people worldwide have a fear of flying, even though flying is known to be the safest form of transport.

Most of us watch or listen to the news, so chances are we’ll come across aeroplane related headline stories at some time – and the ones that make the news are generally bad news! But though it may seem like there are loads of these stories, the reports cover the whole    world, and include even small private planes. How many car accidents worldwide do you come across making headlines?

For those of you who are afraid of flying, just thinking about booking a ticket and stepping on a plane can feel as likely as a return flight to Mars – and it’s fascinating that they’re now talking about a future one way mission to Mars…. Though getting back is still a very long way off.  What will we find there, one wonders. Thinking about the Universe brings to mind the well-worn cliché – “We are not alone”.

And with this in mind, it can be reassuring to know that the fear of flying is actually shared by many, many people worldwide. However not everyone is worried about crashing – a large number of people fear they might have a panic attack, lose control in some way, and be trapped and unable to escape. So whether it is something awful happening to the plane, or you yourself perhaps losing control, either way, you’re not alone!  But if you’re never done something, then what is it that stops you from giving it a go?

Quite a few people say they just know they won’t like something – and aren’t prepared to even try it. We all know people with food fads, who won’t sample anything outside the normal range of what they know they like. So what is it that puts these thoughts and even images in our heads before we even try things out? It can be that you feel particularly vulnerable at a point in your life, and so believe the chance of something happening, despite being very unlikely, could actually occur – and that it will be just your luck and your flight.

We do hear about frightening plane crash stories like the airliner that came down in the ocean, on the way to Denpasar-Ngurah Raj Bali International Airport. But it’s really important to remember that all 108 passengers and 7 crew survived, though very sadly 45 people were injured.

So what do we do with all this information and how do we relate it to our life’s ambitions?  Do we just put our ambitions to one side and tell ourselves that we just “can’t do it”, or do we face it head on and find a way of dealing with it?

Isn’t getting on a plane and travelling to some far flung destination or even taking a short flight for a weekend trip worth doing?  What about the old friend over in Spain that you chat with on Skype every weekend – or the new job you’ve taken that could well involve a lot of travelling overseas?  The world is a small place and getting even smaller.  The option of travelling will grow ever greater, to the point where more and more of us will have to move around to get work, so overcoming this very real fear of flying could make all the difference to your life.

If you have a fear of flying why not try the highly successful ‘Freedom to Fly’ course – a specialist cognitive behaviour therapy based treatment programme for fear of flying, developed by Elaine Iljon Foreman.

About Elaine



I am a Chartered Clinical Psychologist with over 30 years of clinical experience.  As a fully trained Chartered Clinical Psychologist specialising in the treatment of fear of flying and other anxiety related problems, I have developed a specialised treatment programme based on over 30 years of clinical experience and continued professional development in cognitive behaviour therapy.

Having qualified at Aberdeen University in 1980, I have practiced as a Clinical Psychologist for over 30 years in both the public and independent sectors. I established Freedom to Fly in 1989 which has grown through corporate referrals and individuals seeking help. My CBT based psychological therapy is normally very successful within a short period, making it highly cost effective.

I am a practitioner member of the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy (BABCP) and a registered Practitioner Psychologist with the HCPC.

Research into the treatment of anxiety, ongoing since my time at Middlesex Hospital Medical School in 1976, has created many invitations to present my findings in Europe, the Americas, Australia and the Far East. Lectures and workshops are given both nationally and internationally on an ongoing basis to professional and self help audiences along with regular TV and radio interviews. The most recent radio interviews were BBC Radio 5 Live on the 12 February and Ridge Radio on 9 September 2013. I have published extensively and I am first author of the 3 Dummies series books: Overcoming Anxiety, Overcoming Depression and the Anxiety and Depression Workbook.

I have worked with a variety of cases, including those of high complexity. I have a keen interest in the ‘well being’ area and consequently pursue training, reading and research around this subject. By attending regular training sessions and seminars this allows me to further develop my knowledge and individually tailor each programme developed uniquely for every patient. I work closely with other specialist teams when required, to support their interventions.

I receive referrals of people who have not succeeded on other fear of flying courses and have a proven track record of success in this area. Over recent years I have had the opportunity to work with the Women’s Institute, The University of the 3rd Age and library groups.

In conclusion I am keen to provide clinically effective treatment within the boundaries of the commercial environment.