My husband has written a blog for years. In the 10/05/08 post at http://dougplummer.blogs.com/dispatches/ he writes about dealing with his turbulence anxiety with music, "along with meditation, slow breathing, energy psychology techniques and an emergency stash of Xanax". This is what occurs to someone who has traveled extensively with a psychotherapist.
I've worked with other people with flight or turbulence phobias (they may or may not overlap) with a mixture of EMDR, energy psychology, and behavioral techniques.
- Clear all trauma memories pertaining to flying, motion sickness, turbulence, and related experiences.
Do TFT or EFT on the thought of flying, going to the airport, standing in line, getting on the plane, strapping in, taking off, being "stuck" in the air for hours, landing, and deplaning, while applying bilateral stimulation. If you don't know these techniques, use EMDR to target each of these, as if the client is going today.
Then imagine the day of the trip, having lunch, luggage, ginger for nausea (if needed) etc. And use either energy psych techniques or EMDR to target the whole trip.
Turbulence phobias are very back brain, primitive, physical reactions. In pretechnology times, if the ground is shaking, something is very wrong and probably dangerous. (Make sure you normalize the phobic response with this explanation.)
Doug flies more easily than he used to. Some of the improvement is straight behaviorism. He's flown so much in his job as a photographer, that some of his panic has extinguished. If the turbulence is extreme, he can tolerate it with his many tools, a great improvement. I use him as an example to phobic and GAD clients. I explain that I know a guy who was terrified of flying and who still hates turbulence, who understands that anxiety doesn't mean danger, and that he can be very afraid and still get on airplanes. I say "Don't let anxiety run your life! Feel it, acknowledge it, manage it, and do what you want to." Then I use EMDR and TFT to get rid of it, or at least tone it down.