Generally Unreliable Methods Explained
• Aroma Therapy and Homeopathic Remedies
• Medication (various benzodiazepines)
Research published by the British medical journal Lancet asserts homeopathic cures to be placebo effect. See research
Research by the Stanford University School of Medicine has shown that anti-anxiety medication
The World Health Organization recommends against sedation when flying due to heightened risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis). See research
Somewhat Effective Methods Explained
• Reassurance Courses
Online Reassurances Courses. Pilots who are not - as SOAR founder Capt. Tom Bunn LCSW is – professionally trained licensed therapists, mistakenly believe phobia can be cured by learning how safe flying is. Though course participants are helped intellectually, they are not helped emotionally. Relaxation exercises offered are, according to research, completely ineffective. See research
Group Reassurance Courses. SOAR was the largest provider of group courses nationwide until research showed far better results were obtained when the person going through the course maintained control, learned information at their own pace, received individual counseling by phone, and took a flight only when ready. At times, airlines have offered group courses. When American Airlines hired a psychologist to conduct a group course, he consulted SOAR Founder Capt. Tom Bunn who advised him that group courses have major drawbacks that he would need to address:
1. Anxiety about the "graduation flight" makes it difficult to focus on course information.
2. Course length does not permit enough repetition to make learning permanent.
3. On the “graduation flight” participants depend on the group and the instructor for emotional support instead of learning to rely on themselves.
4. Relaxation exercises do not control anxiety or panic.
5. Attention to individual needs is limited.
After a short time, American Airlines discontinued the course. Group courses have claimed 90% success, based on the percentage taking the "graduation flight". Though able to fly with support from the group and the instructor, most who were unable to fly before the course are unable to fly solo after the course. Most participants show no improvement when tested six months later.
• VRET (virtual reality exposure therapy)
The psychologist who conducted the initial VRET research consulted Capt. Tom Bunn, before and after the research. VRET was unable to produce better results than comparison treatment consisting of sitting on a parked plane and pretending to fly. Yet, its promoters continue to claim it is effective. See info
• Exposure Therapy (in vitro)
• Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
• EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques)
Capt. Bunn trained in each these treatments in search for a solution. Each provided some, but not sufficient, benefit.
Effective in most cases
• SOAR CBT-based Program (1982 - 1999)
In 1982 SOAR introduced the first fear of flying program based on CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). The program was rated “highly effective” with most clients by independent university research. CBT techniques, however, did not work for everyone. Clients whose anxiety developed slowly found CBT effective, but clients whose anxiety or panic developed rapidly could not gain control through CBT.
• SOAR – Comprehensive Integrated Program (2000 - Present)
In 2000, SOAR introduced a method to automatically control high anxiety, claustrophobia, and panic. Recognizing that no single methodology is universally effective, SOAR employs a comprehensive and integrated approach consisting of automatic control, backup control, CBT, and aeronautic information (how flying works; how safety systems protect; what each sound and sensation is; what it means).
Though SOAR graduates learn CBT and other anxiety control techniques, most graduates use these as backups. They find automatic control established through six to eight guided training sessions stops anxiety, claustrophobia, and panic when flying. Occasionally, a client presents a special challenge that requires us to find new ways to provide help. That, of course, extends the knowledge base that makes it possible for us to help every client attain success.