What is pteromerhanophobia?

Pteromerhanophobia may be an unfamiliar term, but if you have a fear of flying, you'll know how it feels. Picture it. You’re looking online at possible destinations for your holiday, drawn to some of the wonderful exotic resorts with white sandy beaches and clear blue skies. And don’t you need the rest? 10 days relaxing on a sun-drenched beach, feeling the warmth on your skin, the soft feeling of the sand between your toes, the sensation of your body melting into the sun lounger while your mind basks in the satisfying feeling of complete relaxation and pleasure?


But what’s the feeling that takes over your lovely daydream? Your heartbeat quickens, your hands are feeling clammy. There’s an unpleasant feeling in your stomach and your head feels like something is starting to pound from the inside. Of course, you recognise the signs. And if you want to get to this particular resort, you’ll need to fly. For you, flying is out of the question.

You’ve had a fear of flying for years, and during this time you have avoided going anywhere that you can’t reach by car, boat, train - any form of travel except planes. You can’t even remember where it came from, you just know that the mere thought is enough to tell you you’re never going to be able to overcome that fear.

Sound familiar? If it does, you’re not on your own. Various surveys quote a fear of flying affecting anywhere between 7% to 28% of the population in the UK. That’s somewhere between 4.5 and 18.4 million people. For a small percentage of people, that means avoiding flying completely. For others, it means increased anxiety, a short temper, distress, discomfort and a range of unpleasant sensations from the minute they leave the house until clearing security at their destination.

Can hypnotherapy help me overcome my phobia?

Phobia’s come in many shapes and forms. Sometimes they can be traced back to a specific event, while other times, you can relate it back to a parent or carer's fear. It could be the result of a recent event you experienced or perhaps it's come out of nowhere. And no matter how often your loved ones try to calm you with explanations and efforts of replacing irrationality with logic, you know it’s real to you and you cannot control it. Or can you?

By working with a hypnotherapist, you can overcome your phobia. Through the support of a hypnotherapist using a number of techniques, you can learn how to manage your phobia. Common techniques include:

Learning specific relaxation techniques

Once mastered, relaxation techniques can be used to combat some of the symptoms of anxiety. You will be provided with the tools and methods you need to help you not only identify but manage feelings of anxiety from the beginning.

Visualising your safe place

Using imagery and visualisations, particularly within hypnotherapy, to learn how to take yourself to your 'safe place' during a flight can help keep you calm. Your imagination is already likely to be highly efficient, after all, it has created the phobia, so we can use that to your advantage in creating more positive images and visualisations.

Use de-sensitisation techniques alongside hypnosis

You can work with a therapist to gradually experience the ‘milestones’ of flying in your imagination, such as arriving at the airport, boarding the plane, buckling your seatbelt, and so on. The imagination is a powerful thing and what you experience here can be translated into real-life experiences at a pace that works for you.

Breathing techniques

Learning a breathing technique that works for you and allows you to introduce calm into your body, suppressing the feelings of anxiety.


Creating a positive affirmation that you can use throughout your journey to the airport and flight, using the power of your mind to cope and take control.

There are other techniques that you can explore with your therapist. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all fix for phobias, and what works for one of your friends may not work for you. But, if you have the will, there will be a way, and a good therapist will guide you there.

So, if white sandy beaches are calling your name, why not contact a hypnotherapist to find out how they can help you overcome your fear? You've got this.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Arundel, West Sussex, BN18 0JE
Written by Shelley Cushway, Dip CBH Dip I Hyp NLP
Arundel, West Sussex, BN18 0JE

I am a cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist and coach. I am also a mindfulness coach and trainer. I work with individuals supporting them to achieve their goals and overcome whatever is holding them back. I also run workshops and training sessions in mindfulness and building confidence.


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