A Radio First? Treating a fear of flying “live on air”
Several years ago I received a telephone call from the London local radio station LBC. At the time, flying phobia was in the news for several reasons, and LBC asked whether I would be prepared to “cure” (their word, not mine) the phobia of a member of their staff on air. In those days LBC used to broadcast traffic reports from a light plane, and the idea was that I’d treat the chap for his phobia then they would send him up in the plane to see how he got on.
I had to be at the airfield, on the other side of London, by 6 am; fortunately they sent a car for me. It was towards the end of Winter, so it was very cold and still dark by the time I arrived. After being introduced to the presenter of the piece and the traffic reporter, I hung around in the control room for a while, then I was introduced to the “client” and given ten minutes alone with him to treat his phobia off-air (UK broadcasting rules don’t allow hypnosis on-air).
With such a short time available I could only use the fastest methods. I chose three, all designed to give the client self-help techniques to use on his own when he went up in the plane. The first was EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), the second was a very fast self-hypnosis induction for relaxation and the third an NLP anchor.
After we had completed the work we were both interviewed on-air by the presenter – the client said he was looking forward to going up and seemed to go back into a light trance while I was talking – and then he and the presented went up in the plane. I was supposed to be able to talk to him while he was up there, but there was a technical problem; I could hear him and the presenter, and both of us were heard on-air, but they couldn’t hear me. Nevertheless, he remembered and used the techniques that I had taught him and the experiment was a complete success.
For several hours after the broadcast LBC were announcing on their news bulletins that “they” had “cured” a member of their staff’s flying phobia “live on radio” – a radio first, apparently. There are a few slight inaccuracies there, and it was unfortunate that, although they mentioned his name in the news bulletins, they didn’t bother with mine!