Virtually Fearless

Do you have fear of flying? I do. A visit to a virtual- reality clinic didn't cure my jitters, but it helped

I'm 33,000 ft. up in the sky, and I feel fine. No sweaty palms, no tingling head; I can finally exhale. Along with some 25 million other Americans, I'm usually deathly afraid of airplanes. A bounce here, a FASTEN SEAT BELT light there, and I'm ready to start penning my will on a crumpled cocktail napkin. But I'm sick of being scared. So before boarding my last flight, I took a crash course in virtual-reality exposure therapy--a high-tech technique that is supposed to help people like me overcome our fear of flying.

First developed by psychologist Barbara Rothbaum and computer scientist...

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