Virtual Reality Exposure Helps Overcome Fears
“Last September, my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary and flew from California to Vermont. This was the first time I had flown in years.”
Like many people with aviophobia, Gaustad hadn’t always been afraid of flying. “We actually flew quite a bit. But on a flight to Las Vegas, our plane hit a few air pockets… enough turbulence to throw things around a bit… and although everything turned out okay, I got real real panicky and said, ‘I’m not going to be able to do this again.'” Sure enough, Gaustad and her family traveled by car, bus or train throughout the next decade.
Knowing the anniversary trip was coming up, Gaustad decided to do something about her phobia and learned that virtual reality therapy was available through her company’s employee benefits. “I only met with Brenda seven or eight times before the therapy worked on me,” she recalls. “In fact, before the sessions were completely over, I had already booked our flights to Vermont.”
“Yes I did feel sort of weird when I wasn’t flying, like there was someting wrong with me,” Gaustad admits. “It was important that my husband understood my problem. Be patient and work through this together.”
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