They want him back home, and the family of Joe Thompson, a 12-year old British schoolboy who has a strong fear of flying, would do anything to pluck him out of Abu Dhabi. The final straw was applying hypnotherapy. It proved to be successful because the lad is now home with his family and playing with his dog.
Young Joe and his family first moved to the UAE in 2009, owing to his father's job as manager of a private hospital. Diagnosed with anxiety disorder in March 2012, Joe, however, had already flown long-haul all his life. His phobia baffled not only his family but also the medical experts who looked on his condition.
Needless to say, his medical disorder has largely consumed him, stranding him in Abu Dhabi for 18 months.
Each time the family attempted to fly young Joe and get on a plane, which was a total of four attempts, the British boy would "lock down" out of panic. Crying, he will refuse to board the plane and make the journey.
His parents were already desperate, rightly so because they have spent AU$68,130 on cancelled flights and doctors' consultations fees as they tried to analyse and overcome Joe's fear of flying. Although attempts were made to leave the UAE by boat, these were still blocked due to visa complications.
Early this year, approached by Russell Hemmings, a hypnotherapist and a British ex-pat living in the neighbouring emirate of Dubai, did the family seriously pondered on hypnothesing their son just so he can board a plane, fly and endure the long travel without going berserk.
Joe's family took on the offer of Mr Hemmings, which he gave freely, to help their son hurdle his personal obstacle.
Mr Hemmings started to work on Joe three months prior to his flight challenge.
Mr Hemmings admitted his young client still did hyperventilate just before boarding but was able to contain Joe.
"I used a combination of hypnosis and cognitive behavioural therapy," he said.
"Joe started having a meltdown at the airport, but we worked through it. On board I was able to calm him using hypnosis techniques. I had prepared for this flight weeks ago during our therapy sessions, using the power of hypnotic suggestion, meaning Joe already had the tools for success deeply planted into his subconscious mind. He just wasn't necessarily aware of it."
"Only in the most extreme cases of flying phobia would an accompanied flight be needed but Joe's anxiety and panic was off the scale. I said it was possible to get him home and I'm thrilled I did it."
Seated in the middle beside Mr Hemmings and his father, Joe's plane landed on Sunday at 5.30 am, UK time.
"Words cannot describe how happy we all are. It's wonderful to be home again as a family," Mr Thompson said.
"I'm so happy to be home. I can't believe how cold it is here," young Joe said. "My mum and dad have been great and I'm so grateful to Russell for taking the time to help me. I just can't wait to get home and get back to my life."
Video Source: Youtube/ mediaproductclips
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