Many of our clients have sent postcards after beginning to travel, telling us with pride about their successes. We would be happy to show you our album with their cards to us. We will quote a few here, just changing their names to keep their privacy.
The first card we want to tell you about is from Alice. After she had mastered her fear of crossing the Bay Bridge (and done a TV interview while driving over it), she asked us to start a fear of flying program. She had never flown. That was 1998, and Alice became the founding member. Years later, Alice wrote, “I’ve been flying since 1998 and I still marvel at what I have accomplished. My life has changed in so many ways, and now my social life has changed as well. I have met new friends that travel many times a year for pleasure. I flew with them for a weekend to Chicago this past year. Years ago before I flew, I always made up excuses why I could not fly with friends. I was embarrassed to tell people about my fear."
Justin had never flown because of his fear of heights. He came to us when a new job required flying several times a year: “When my job required me to take a business trip, I was forced to face my fears. In less than ten sessions I overcame my fear and got on the plane. . . . The techniques I found most helpful were the videos of the inside and outside views of the plane and the recording you made me . . . with breathing exercises. I listened to the tape before and during the flight to help me calm my nerves. I never thought practicing breathing would be so helpful. I even use the breathing in other activities . . . when I just feel I need to be more relaxed. I cannot thank you enough. I could not have done it without you.”
Anna could fly easily to Europe but came to us because she dreaded getting on the Beltway and 95 North to Baltimore for a very important upcoming meeting: "Thank you . . . for meeting with me to accomplish my goal to drive 495 and 95 North for a meeting in Baltimore, I had not driven on the highway in years . . . I was feeling so frustrated and held back from doing things I needed and wanted to accomplish, I felt I lost my freedom and desperately wanted it back . . . and I said 'no more!' I appreciated you working quickly with me to accomplish my goal, and it feels great to know ‘I got this!’ and I can do it. Thanks for your encouragement, patience and comfort along the way!”
Michael was hoping for a job promotion but it would require extensive site visits overseas. His claustrophobia was the stumbling block, and after a number of office visits we did our first exposure for claustrophobia by taking a very short ferry ride at Whites Ferry across the Potomac. Not easy for him but we helped him use strategies he practiced in the office to handle being in a situation where he felt trapped because he couldn't get off. Michel sent a postcard years later with a picture of Bangkok: “I can’t believe it—but I made it to Thailand, more than 10,000 miles. I owe so much to all of your help—back 10 years ago. So thanks again." He went on to a become our first flier to achieve 100,000 miles. And we thank Michael, who was sent to us by an airline, for insisting that we get a website to make it easier for people to find us!
"Thank you so much for helping me overcome the fear of flying that I have lived with for almost twenty years. It took a lot for me to even pick up the phone to make my first appointment, but I am so glad I did. Knowing that you had once been a fearful flyer was important to me. I felt you would be able to understand my fears and know how real they were to me. The other important thing you gave to me was an understanding of how planes work and why airplane travel is safe. I had heard all the statistics but never really believed them deep down inside. I just took my first trip from DC to Denver and back again. I was constantly amazed that I had no fear during either leg of the trip. I now have the ability to go to so many places and see so many things that I never thought I would be able to enjoy. . . . I can go on the business trips that I sometimes couldn‘t because they were too far away and be part of the discussion instead of hearing about them second hand . . . Thanks again.”
Kate came to us excited but terrified of her upcoming safari in Africa with family. She especially did not want her adult kids to criticize her for being frightened. Fortunately she contacted us several months before the safari. Here is some of what Kate later wrote: My fear of planes, both large and especially small, the wild animals, the unprotected sleeping in tents, the potential for snakes, and maybe most of all, the fear that my anxiety would alienate my whole family made this trip almost inconceivable to me with its intergalactic distance from my comfort zone. Now that we are all back safe and sound...having had truly the trip of a lifetime, I want to make sure you know how much I appreciate our work and the ways it has changed my life.
Kate goes on to write “ For starters, understanding how planes take off and what keeps them up in the air was a major help traveling on 11 different planes, with 14 take offs and landings, including a 5-seater (that was hard). The many coping strategies that you suggested and helped me formulate for the trip were invaluable—meditation, imagery, books, music, mantras, and de-sensitization techniques (a trip to the zoo) beforehand among many others. I am also sure that your calm, understanding and sensitive listening to all my fears was very cathartic and healing to me. You really made me feel like I could do this and then gave me the strategies, both cognitive and behavioral, to make that happen emotionally . . . I thank you for your warmth, your support, and your wisdom in helping me make these profound changes.”
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