I’ve always been scared of heights and of flying but I don’t understand why that should be if a Behaviourist approach to phobias works.
The best way of keeping calm during a flight, I find, is to look at the bored faces of the staff. If they’re not scared, this must be ordinary. It worked for my last flight over the Atlantic and for a very bumpy ride into Barcelona a couple of years ago. I’m hoping it’ll work still for the trip to San Francisco but I don’t understand why I’m still scared.
Behaviourist psychology in practice treats phobias either with flooding or with progressive desensitsation. As I understand it, the idea with both is that confronting the object or source of your fear and being allowed to relax retrains you.
But I’ve already been on a six-hour flight to Atlanta and I feel just as bad about heights now. I still couldn’t climb up the spire in Freiburg, for example, something Helen did without turning a hair, or climb to the top walkway of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, or zoom up the Berlin Fernsehturm with ease. I still hate heights even though I’ve been exposed to them time and again. Doesn’t this suggest that the much-vaunted Behaviourist success with phobias is a pile of pants?