Archives for Flying Phobia
(A God in Therapy post) This New York Times' article went viral yesterday: A Drug to Cure Fear. But are yet more psychiatric drugs really the answer? A 19th century Jewish mystic, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, said "no."
Your Life After Trauma: Powerful Practices to Reclaim Your Identity by Michele Rosenthal is a heartfelt and intelligent guide to finding yourself after trauma takes away your sense of security, control, and identity.
In Promise Land: My Journey Through America's Self-Help Culture, author Jessica Lamb-Shapiro explains that the world of self-help is a mix of helpful and decidedly unhelpful. Without writing an expose, she reveals the, well, let's face it, tacky world of those self-help gurus who are in it for the bucks alone, and whose promises of salvation, or even maturation or actualization, are as thin as the dollar bills shelled out for them. She also identifies some possibly helpful self-help programs
I created the painting titled “Reconnecting” after returning home from a trip to New York. While I was there I couldn't help but notice that this is the view from practically every window in the city, and having seen a number of other artists versions of the urban landscape at galleries in Manhattan, I wanted to give it a try myself. The idea of the New York Times crossword puzzle and a cup of coffee came pretty easily. The next painting titled “Viewpoint” is a fantasy for me. I’m thinking location is somewhere in Tuscany. The style of the windows are distinctly European, and to make the room even more inviting, a kitty. Clearly this is a place I hope to visit one day! I don’t vacation often, and admit I do have some anxiety about traveling. My Windowscape paintings may be my way of seeing the world without the necessity of leaving my house! See Gazing At Calm and Shifting Emotions, two Therapy Soup posts featuring the work of artist Karen Hollingsworth. See more of the artist's work at KarenHollingsworth.com
Manhattan psychologist Dr. Joseph Cilona offers his advice for dealing with the stress of travel: Traveling often poses unique challenges for people with genuine mental health issues, as well as those with "issues" that may fall short of a clinical diagnosis. People with anxiety, panic, or that are coping without a lot of stress often find that traveling can trigger symptoms and make symptoms they normally experience much more frequent and intense. The most important factors are perceived pressure (often related to time) and irrational fears related to mishaps (e.g. lost luggage or delays) or calamity (e.g. plane crash).
C.R. writes: Last year I wrote about SOAR, the online course for fearful flyers created by pilot and psychotherapist, Captain Tom Bunn. The course was terrific, only I didn't stick with it. I got very busy with work and even though I had potential flight plans, I didn't practice the exercises as I should have. To my surprise, however, I felt I had benefited, from what I did spend time on, especially Captain Tom's well-articulated explanations of the mechanics of flying, and his "jello" explanation of how a plane actually stays in the air. I found the classes on the gulf stream and weather really interesting, too. Thinking about flying had never been easier. I also began to re-up my meditation practice, hisbodedus, in which I specifically worked on issues around flying. And I began immersing myself in a course of spiritual study and prayer to alleviate anxiety and fears. Then I planned a trip half-way around the world, to the Former Soviet Union.
C.R. writes: There is an art, or rather a knack, to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. —Douglas Adams, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy The Douglas Adams quote is one of my favorites. I'm still doing my SOAR course and it is still working. You can read my first two posts (here and here). I'm slowing up a bit because my schedule recently got slammed and not in the way I intended (two fractured teeth, among other exciting adventures in discomfort.) Still, I know that overcoming this flying-fear is a serious goal and I am determined to focus on that goal. For me, the fist step is prayer, asking God for help in overcoming my fear. Then I get down to the taking the steps I need to take to get there. Several things Captain Tom Bunn (the pilot and social worker who created SOAR) has said that have helped me. Here are two of them:
I'm still working on the SOAR program I blogged about last week. I hope I'll be ready to fly without fear long before hypersonic flight becomes a reality on passenger planes! Yesterday I spoke with Captain Tom Bunn, LCSW of SOAR, who told me a bit about the genesis of some of the effective exercises in his flying-phobia treatment protocol. For one technique, his inspiration came from anxiety expert Jerilyn Ross. Ross's "rubber-band" technique has been used by countless anxiety patients in one form or another. The concept is pretty simple: When you find yourself thinking about the fear, change your "what if" thinking. Focus on and carry out a simple and manageable task such as counting backward from from 100 by 3's or snapping a rubber band on your wrist.
C.R. writes: I'm going to disclose something I have been ashamed of for many years: I am a fearful flyer. Yes, I've flown around the world but if it's at all possible, I'd drive for hours (even days) to avoid flying. I'd probably even walk. In the past few years, I've learned that a surprising number of my (female) friends are afraid of flying. I have one friend who took her kids on a cross-country trip by car, spent two days at their destination, and came home. I have another who took a cruise to and from a Caribbean island (usually people fly one way.) I have a friend who flies frequently on business and who doses herself with anything her doctor'll prescribe even though in "real-life" she won't take so much as an aspirin. (Nothing really works, she tells me). I have another who missed her honeymoon.