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Experts share how to overcome the fear of flying

The deadly plane crash in Little Rock could trigger anxiety for those afraid of flying— we spoke to a plane crash survivor and a clinical therapist to share tips.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Hearing about last week's deadly plane crash in Little Rock could have triggered some people who have anxiety about flying.

Flying is not an easy thing for many people, including Stephanie Porter.

She's one of the survivors of American Airlines Flight 1420 which crashed in Little Rock in June of 1999. 

"I don't know if I'll ever completely overcome it. But it's not as much of a deterrent for me now," Porter said.

We were able to join Porter in 2019 for her first flight since the crash where she was visibly terrified.  

Porter explained that taking off and landing are the hardest parts— but she's come a long way in overcoming her fear. 

"What inspired me to do it honestly, was the loss of my father. I couldn't get to him before he passed away. I didn't want that being a problem anymore. So I thought, You know what, I've got to do this," Porter said.

Since our cameras flew with her, she's also flown to Atlanta and back.

"Once I got up in the air, I kind of settled down a little bit because I never was scared of flying before that, because of the accident, obviously, that you have that added fear in there of crashing," she described.

Clinical Therapist, Beatrice Klokpah with Eunoia Therapy & Self Development said that there are a few ways to overcome the fear. 

She recommends writing down a list of worst-case scenarios and benefits of taking the flight, deciding if you are going to fly or not and if you do fly, practicing deep breathing. 

"I think the reasons behind why you need to take a flight really does make the difference if it's going to push you to do it or not. Which is why that list is so important," Klokpah said.

She added that everyone will move at their own pace so there's no timeline for overcoming fear like this but recommends therapy to get you through it. 

"When you talk with that therapist, we help you unravel all of the thoughts that just feel jumbled up in a pile, to help you make sense of it," she said.

"It's something that you can overcome. It definitely is. You just have to have the determination to do it," Porter said.


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