Daily Record, Glasgow 8th October 2013
Schoolboy stranded in Abu Dhabi for YEAR over fear of flying finally comes home: Watch him being hypnotised on plane
Joe Thompson was hypnotised to overcome his phobia after he refused to board a plane on four separate occasions
A boy needed his personal hypnotherapist to get him back to Britain yesterday – after being stranded abroad for two years by his extreme fear of flying.
Twelve-year-old Joe Thompson’s phobia had prevented him boarding a flight from Abu Dhabi with his dad – despite the fact he couldn’t wait to see his mum, sister and pet dog at home.
After arriving with therapist Russell Hemmings, Joe said: “I’m so happy. I want to get home and see my dog”
Describing Joe’s symptoms, dad Tony, 62, said: “He was fine until he got to check-in and then he fell apart.
“He got stomach pains, he collapsed and sat on the floor sobbing.
“It was awful. He never talked about the plane crashing. He just said each time ‘it’s the height’.”
Therapist Russell said: “Only in the most extreme cases would an accompanied flight be needed, but Joe’s anxiety and panic was off the scale.”
The Thompsons had moved to the United Arab Emirates in 2009 for Tony’s work.
But they spent £40,000 on medical fees, plane tickets and a villa to extend their stay while trying to get Joe back.
He had refused to board a plane on four separate occasions.
Joe had his first panic attack on the way to the UAE after a visit to Britain – and when the family booked a flight home last year Joe refused to board.
He’s made it: Joe hugs his father Tony as the plane touches down at Heathrow
David Hedges / SWNS.com
They even tried to make the 4,500-mile journey home by car and cargo ship but ran into visa problems.
But Tony – a former aide to Labour politician John Prescott – said yesterday: “With Russell’s help we managed to get him on the plane, but soon after take-off he got very upset. Russell did his magic and all was good.”
Russell said: “I used hypnosis and cognitive behavioural therapy.
“On board I was able to calm him. This case was very complex and challenging”
Joe was greeted at Heathrow by mum Pauline, 50, who had returned home to Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset, with daughter Chloe,18, last year for a job at a solicitor’s firm.
Joe added: “I’m so grateful to Russell.”
Contact: Linda Alexander, Glasgow Tel: 0141 632 1440 and 07875 493 358, and firstname.lastname@example.org
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