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Soar: The Breakthrough Treatment For Fear Of Flying Paperback – October 1, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


“SOAR is more than a program of effective exercises to treat fear of flying. SOAR provides a relevant and understandable explanation of how the nervous system—as it works outside of awareness to protect us—overreacts and puts us into a state of anxiety when flying. SOAR provides the toolkit to educate the part of the brain that is below consciousness and involved in regulating anxiety to more accurately evaluate risk related to flying.”  —Stephen W. Porges, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina, author of The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation 

About the Author

Captain Tom Bunn L.C.S.W. worked on the first Fear of Flying program at Pan Am and founded SOAR in 1982. He is a licensed therapist, and lives with his wife Marie.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press (October 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762788003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762788002
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (174 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

After graduating from Wake Forest University in psychology, Tom entered the U.S. Air Force. Number one in his class when he got his wings in 1960, he was given his choice of assignments, and chose to fly the Air Force's first supersonic jet fighter, the F-100.

He served from 1961 until 1965 with the 9th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany flying the F-100 and F-105. In addition to flying, he did accident investigation and developed a safety device for the F-100.

While in Germany, Captain Tom raced a Lola Mk5 Formula 3 at the Nurburgring, Zolder, Zandvordt, and Rouen. When returning to the U.S., he converted the car to SCCA Formula C specifications, and won a U.S. National Championship in 1965.

From 1965 until 1986, he flew DC-8s, 707s, and 747s internationally with Pan Am. From 1986 until 1996, he flew 747s, 757s and 767s at United Airlines.

The first fear of flying program was started at Pan Am by Captain Truman "Slim" Cummings. Captain Tom worked with him on that program until founding SOAR in 1982 to develop more effective methods for dealing with flight problems. This led to graduate school at Fordham University where he earned a Masters Degree with top honors, and several years of postgraduate study at the Gestalt Center Of Long Island, the New York Training Institute For Neurolinguistic Programming, and The Masterson Institute. He was licensed as a therapist in 1990.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Wendy on November 13, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is the program that changed my life ! Excellent research and professional practice by Captain Tom Bunn, pilot and psychotherapist (who else can claim that ?) has resulted in an easy to understand method for retraining your brain. Unlike some phobias, fear of flying can be a compilation of multiple fears and anxieties. A comprehensive treatment approach is the best way to go on this one. I had not flown for 12 years and before that had flown with terror and severe panic attacks. No pleasure was to be had. I missed out on so many important experiences. Last month I took my first flight and was elated with the result. No Panic Attacks !! I successfully navigated the whole experience using everything I had learned and practiced. I can't wait to fly again. The strengthening exercise is a powerful tool. This wonderful book has all the information that the course has and refutes every argument you have about why it won't work for you. If Neuroscience, Aerodynamics and Psychology got married and had a child, it would be named, "Freedom to Fly" and you can thank Captain Tom Bunn for walking them down the aisle !
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By G.C. on January 21, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a really nervous flyer. I've been known to cry when there is turbulence and just flat out avoid trips if it means I need to get on an airplane. I couldn't avoid it forever though and in preparation I read this book. It had so many good reviews so I figured it couldn't hurt. It's not a miracle, I still hate to fly and I still hate turbulence, but I didn't cry once even during extremely bumpy flights. While I could see the relaxation techniques helping some people, for me it was just the sheer education of it. I especially appreciated how the author states flat out that turbulence is not dangerous, not a problem, that pilots don't understand our fear of it, that flight crews wouldn't show up to work if it was dangerous, etc. You can also download an app that is free, though the videos within it are not, and it has neat features like a meter to measure turbulence amounts, summaries of the info such as turbulence safety that are good for calming yourself quickly, etc. I shook my phone around at home a few times and saw how much force is needed to really get the meter up there but i did not use the meter during the flight. It made me nervous to do so in case I saw a reading that I didn't want to see. I still don't want to fly if I can help it but I didn't panic during my layover and cry in a bathroom either.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 7, 2013
Format: Paperback
I am a nurse practitioner and have had to fly frequently for work - including lecturing. I never had a problem till about 10 years ago and when I got to the airport, just as I was to board, I froze up and could not board. I was terrified - I kept thinking of the flight to France that crashed and the PA schoolchildren that died. My inability to fly that day caused difficulty with the lecturing bureau I was signed with because I left them without a lecturer for 6 sold out programs and they threatened to sue. As you can see - this fear definitely interfered with my life but I just could not get on the plane. I did not fly again until I came across SOAR.

SOAR not only has me flying with out any fear - I actually look forward to flying and am completely relaxed. But (as the commercials say) there is more. I found that the principles used in the videos and the book also are applicable to other aspects of my life. I have also SOARED in my profession - in a corporate world. I have been promoted twice and am considered calm under pressure. I learned not to just react, but to think things through, investigate in my mind before speaking, ask questions, and that has proven to be helpful in all walks of my life.

So - Tom Bunn has not only helped get me back in the air - he has helped me to reach more of my full potential. I would recommend this book to anyone who has a fear of flying AND to anyone who wants to apply the same principles to other aspects of there life. Thank you Tom!!
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Tamara Ortas on April 30, 2014
Format: Paperback
I thought that there was absolutely no way that this or any other program like it would help me. I had to fly and I was sick for the two weeks leading up to the flight. I couldn't sleep, I felt nauseous, light-headed, my palms were was horrible. I had decided to just "bite the bullet", "keep a stiff upper lip", "tough it out", but that was not working and I knew that once I got on that plane, I was going to be in BIG trouble. I bought this book one week before my flight. I read it and did the exercises faithfully. After only 24 hours, I noticed a huge shift. The thought of flying no longer terrified me. I was calmer. I was even looking forward to my trip. I was so calm at the airport that the airport staff all throughout the process chose to deal with me instead of my husband (who loves flying) because I WAS THE CALM ONE. I followed all of Captain Bunn's advice. I did the exercises and introduced myself to the flight attendants and the pilot. I was so proud of myself and so happy and they were proud of me and happy as well. I did it. I flew with confidence. I even enjoyed the flight. I enjoyed my vacation with my family without dreading the return flight. IT WORKED. And as a totally unexpected and delightful spin-off benefit, I have found that the work that I did to calm and build a foundation of confidence to fly has also given me greater self-acceptance, calm and self-confidence in lots of other, non-flight-related areas of my life. Captain Tom Bunn really cares about helping people. He has made a ton of useful resources available to anyone who needs them. I will always be grateful to him for his work and his help. Surprise yourself. Get the book and it will work for you, too.
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