Psychological treatment of the fear of flying based on a cognitive model: a case study

This paper describes a clinical case study, including psychological assessment and treatment, based on a cognitive model, of a 32-year-old woman who showed fear of flying. The assessment and diagnosis were carried out by means of a clinical interview employing DSM-IV criteria, the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Measures of pre- and post-treatment were obtained. The techniques used in the treatment consisted of the following: information, relaxation techniques, behavior tasks, systematic desensitization in imagery, identification of cognitive distortions, discussion of irrational ideas, and self-exposure in vivo. The therapeutic objectives were achieved after nine weekly therapy sessions and usig a therapeutic program of bibliotherapy as a complementary activity. The therapy resulted in positive changes and in an improvement, which remained stable at the two to four month follow-ups after the end of the treatment.

Anxiety disorders; phobia; flight; cognitive therapy

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