Arachnophobia is common – even here in the UK where spiders are harmless. The terror that sufferers feel is nothing to do with actual danger. It is an irrational fear, like almost all phobias.
Next month Bristol Zoo have teamed up again with a local hypnotherapist to offer a four-hour course in ‘Living with Spiders’. They did this last year and found that the course was very effective, with a considerable reduction in anxiety levels for participants, 75% of whom graded the course 8 out of 10.
Read more about their course here: http://www.bristolzoo.org.uk/whats-on/living-with-spiders
Of course, part of the experience they offer is actually handling “friendly” spiders in the Zoo’s collection. In a standard hypnotherapy session, we don’t usually lay on a selection of tarantulas or even house spiders as a spider-petting opportunity.
But then, many people suffering from this phobia don’t even need to see a spider – it’s enough to just imagine that it might be there.
I have a friend who goes with her children and husband to stay with another family they have known for years. But this family live in an old house, surrounded by countryside – and before the visit, the house has to be spider-cleansed. This takes a couple of days and my friend is reassured by a report on how many spiders have been collected during the exercise.
I haven’t the heart to point out that there must be hundreds more in residence. Even a picture of a spider is enough to send shivers down her spine.
Hypnotherapy has been shown to be effective in helping people deal with phobias – all kinds of phobias, and not just a fear of spiders. Some people find that their fear or aversion disappears, others find it has reduced to manageable proportions and the anxiety and stress associated with their phobias often diminishes or can be easily controlled by stress-reduction techniques.
So if you’re one of those people who’ve been suffering for years, why not do something about it now?