EMDR or hypnotherapy for travel anxiety?

My husband becomes very anxious about upcoming air travel - both for work and leisure.  He is not scared of actually flying, but all the logistics around it  - what if he forgets to pack something, traffic on the way to the airport, no overhead bin space, delayed or cancelled flights, rude airport workers, etc.  In the couple days before having to fly, he will work himself up so much that he actually starts feeling sick.   He has never had a traumatic event while flying and he knows his anxiety is somewhat irrational.  He loves going on road trips and does not feel this amount of stress.  Is there any type of therapy that could help ease his anxiety around this?  Thanks!

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My son had panic attacks around flying for 10 years and immediate and full resolution after doing a day clinic at the SFO fear of flying clinic and going through the book SOAR (Soar: The Breakthrough Treatment For Fear Of Flying by Tom Bunn). the book is really focused on fear of flying/ airplane but they also have an excellent therapy (self guided) to tie each event of going to airport, etc with something that releases oxytocin and I imagine that may help with the type of anxiety that you are describing around the other events. 

I have anxiety around pre-trip logistics too.  I'm not afraid of the actual flying, but I get so agitated in the day or two before the trip that I am very unpleasant to be around and my poor husband gets yelled at a lot. He thinks I'm nuts for being so obsessed about packing and getting there early, but it makes me feel so much calmer. What I do:

  1. Excessively organized packing. It is very satisfying to see everything neatly packed inside the suitcase at least 24 hours before you have to leave. Soothing. I always pack a few days before the trip because I'll suddenly wake up and remember that one thing I forgot to pack. My suitcase which I love (TravelPro) has compartments and a space for hang-up clothes. I use packing cubes - one for underwear, one for bras, one for socks, etc. etc.  This might seem like too much, but then I'm not the spouse who forgot to bring underwear that one time!
  2. Utility kit: Important!  I went through a few kits before I found the right one. Not enough compartments and it just seems like a chaotic mess, which is anxiety-producing. But too many compartments is even more annoying. Do you really need a separate little sleeve for nail clippers? No!  Amazon has a lot of styles, and they are pretty inexpensive so you can afford to replace one you don't like. I keep my utility kit always packed with the essential stuff even when I'm not traveling. I have a list in my kit with the 5 things I can never forget and I check them all off when I pack. When I'm on the road if I notice something I'm out of, or something I needed that I didn't have, I write it down right then and put it in my kit. I even have a pen and tiny pad for this purpose!  When I get home as I'm unpacking, I refill all the containers, get more toothpaste, add Q-tips, whatever is needed so it's ready to go on the next trip.
  3. Travel stash: I have a tote bag in my closet where I keep stuff I only use when I travel. When I'm packing, I go through the travel stash and pull out what I need. Such as: lightweight power cord, night light, fork-spoon kit, neck pillow, etc. 
  4. Prescriptions: I use a daily pill dispenser and when I travel I fill up a second one and put one in my suitcase and one in my purse or laptop bag. This has come in handy at least once! 
  5. Very early airport arrival. I know this is irrational, but I need to be sitting in the waiting area at the airport for at least 1.5 hours before boarding time for domestic, and 2.5 hours before for overseas. This helps me not worry about traffic and long security lines. I always bring along pleasant things to do and nice snacks to eat while waiting in the airport. This extra time actually helped us that time we got to SFO for a flight to Europe with a baby and a grandma and realized we had forgotten to grab the bag with the passports. We still had time to drive to Berkeley and back, in rush hour! Worst case scenario.
  6. Taxi/Uber/Lyft, not park-and-fly. For me it is extremely stressful to drive to the airport, park in a lot, wait for the shuttle, climb on with the suitcases, 20-30 minutes to get to the airport, climb off with the suitcases.  I also have anxiety about coming back and not remembering where we parked. So we get someone to drive us. Sometimes we stay in an airport hotel the night before, just to make it easier.
  7. I hope this helps!

Hi! A close friend of mine was in a very similar boat for most of his life. He started EMDR therapy a couple of years ago and has been able to peacefully and happily embark on many more travels with his family! He’s been to Europe twice this year and said the EMDR has made an incredible difference for him. I don’t have first-hand experience myself but wanted to share this anecdote when I saw your post.