Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Exciting Thorpe Park Collaboration

This is a special blog that is going out today to reflect the press release below. This will appear in national press today. Thorpe Park asked us if we could help people with a fear of rollercoasters.  We have thought long and hard about this as we specialise in fear of flying.  However, one of the things that we know to be true is that fear (and how we learn it) works the same in our brains.  Whatever the fear is, the building blocks for creating and maintaining the fear are very similar.  So, we are going to run some programmes to help anyone that might be nervous of rollercoasters. 

A lot of people that come onto our fear of flying course say, 'I don't like fairground rides either.'  This is comparing two different things completely.  Aircraft do not do the dynamic movement that rollercoasters do but we know fearful flyers often think that they do. Aircraft hardly move at all in comparison to one of these rides.

Some of us went to Thorpe Park and tried out The Swarm - which is brilliant fun.  Here is a picture of the ride  and the official press release is below....


LONDON, 3 APRIL, 2012: As a result of a spate of panic attacks and a soaring number of people seen sweating and hyperventilating on its newest and most extreme ride, THE SWARM, THORPE PARK, the nation’s Thrill Capital, today announced a pioneering collaboration with Virgin Atlantic’s ‘Flying Without Fear’ programme. As not only a UK first, but a world first, the two will work together to create a treatment plan for members of the public who suffer with a phobia of rollercoasters (veloxrotaphobia).

As the UK’s first winged rollercoaster, riders of THE SWARM are taken on a flight for their lives and left completely exposed with nothing above or below them whilst hurtling through the air at death-defying speeds of almost 100km per hour. The ride includes a unique 127ft head first inverted drop and four further inversions, which are proving too much even for THORPE PARK’s thrill seeking fans.

The treatment plan will use a range of psychological tools and techniques that have been adapted from those used on the highly acclaimed Virgin Atlantic 'Flying Without Fear' Course – the leading course in the industry that has helped over 25,000 people, including actress Whoopi Goldberg, socialite Jemima Khan and Coronation Street’s Antony Cotton, overcome their fear of flying since it begun in 1997.

Participants on the half day course will be taught a series of practical strategies including Neuro Linguistic Programming, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy elements, Relaxation Skills and Thought Field Therapy to help them overcome their phobia, will be given the opportunity to ask the course leaders everything they have ever wanted to know about their fear, and will leave understanding how rollercoasters work and why they are safe. The course will culminate in a ride on THE SWARM where participants will be able to put their newly acquired techniques into practice. 

Mike Vallis, Divisional Director at THORPE PARK said: “THE SWARM’s unique 127ft head first drop and extreme gut-wrenching inversions, together with the fact that recent press stories highlighted that the ride had to be re-modelled after the initial testing phase, is proving to be too much for some THORPE PARK guests. We hope that our collaboration with Virgin Atlantic will help those with a genuine fear of rollercoasters overcome their phobia, and understand that THE SWARM is 100% safe, so they can enjoy the exhilaration and thrills with their friends and family, instead of being left waiting with the bags.”

Paul Tizzard, Co-Director at Virgin Atlantic ‘Flying without Fear’ Programme said:  “One of the top reasons why people are afraid of flying is the feeling of being out of control and this is also something that can be applied to those who have a fear of rollercoasters.  The Virgin Atlantic Fear of Flying course has a 98% success rate and after testing out the ride, our cabin crew and pilots are confident that our techniques can be adapted to help those currently too scared to ride.”

To register your interest in the fear of rollercoasters treatment plan or to nominate family and friends who are always left holding the bags to take part please email with your details. Places will be allocated on a first come first serve basis.
Tickets for THE SWARM are available now at

For further information on Virgin Atlantic’s Fear of Flying course please visit


  1. This has made me smile as I just posted on the forum about how brilliant the Luton course was on the 26th, and mentioned that I still don't like take off-but this is because of the feeling as opposed to being scared now, but how I think it might be because I don't like the feeling of fast rides-and funnily enough said how you'd never catch me at Thorpe Park!! Even though I know take off is nothing like a rollercoaster! Maybe I should book myself onto this new course! :)

  2. This is really great information that have been shared here.I like this informative stuff so much .