Somerset

Fear of flying boy Joe Thompson flies home after hypnosis

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Media captionJoe Thompson's fear of flying was "off the radar"

A schoolboy who was trapped in the United Arab Emirates for 15 months due to a fear of flying has arrived home after being hypnotised.

Joe Thompson, 12, and his parents were supposed to move from Abu Dhabi to Weston-super-Mare in July 2012.

But when the time came to come home, Joe suffered such a severe panic attack he was unable to get on the plane.

His family spent £40,000 on cancelled flights, accommodation and phobia therapy during the unexpected stay.

The family had been living in the United Arab Emirates since 2009.

'Absolutely amazed'

Joe said: "The most difficult bits have probably been the guilt of putting my family through all of this.

"My parents say it's no worry, but I know that there's a big worry in them. It's very upsetting to see them like that."

Cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist Russell Hemmings said Joe's was the "most severe" case of a nervous flyer he had seen in 20 years.

"He was right off the radar," Mr Hemmings said. "He went into full foetal position.

"He was shaking, his heart was racing, he was sweating, shivering - very frightened.

"The flight, once we got him settled down, went very smoothly."

Joe's father, Tony Thompson, said: "I was absolutely amazed [by the hypnotist's methods].

"When Joe woke up on the plane about 20 minutes into the flight, opened his eyes and smiled and I realised it was all over."

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