About 5% of the population have one or more fears or phobias. It is estimated that women are slightly more likely to develop a phobia than men. A common phobia, also often made light of is the fear of spiders. If you have a fear of spiders, I will explain how hypnotherapy can help you reduce or totally remove your fear of spiders.
What is fear of spiders called?
Fear of spiders has a well known technical name – Arachnophobia. Arachnophobia is derived from the Greek word for spider, “arachne,” and then coupled with “phobos,” which is the Greek for fear. A strong fear of spiders or similar eight-legged insects, such as scorpions may actually be a human evolutionary response. If you think about it, it does make sense that insects would signal to the ancient mind a danger since spiders, in particular poisonous ones, have long been linked to illness and infections. In a sense, hypnotherapy for fear of spiders works to reverse this, now unneeded, evolutionary programming.
For many people, seeing a spider prompts a “disgust response.” Someone with a strong fear of spiders might be afraid to go into their basement or garage, for fear a spider may be lurking there. If they encounter a house spider, they could actually leave the house rather than stay and deal with it.
A common response with many phobias is indeed to avoid the place or situation which creates the phobia reaction. As such it is common for people with a fear of spiders to avoid going on holiday to hot or tropical places, where they are likely to run into insects.
It’s when a phobia creates anxiety enough that it stops you participating in daily activities, that action needs to be taken. Often a person knows that a spider is harmless but still feels real physical anxiety symptoms, including sweating, shaking and a racing mind.
Easy as it is for others to poke fun, having a phobia is no laughing matter. I have really enjoyed helping people overcome their fear of spiders using hypnotherapy. It often only takes a session or two. Often clients are people fearful about going holiday to the Middle East or Africa. Often people express that they were worried that their time away will be ruined by constantly looking out for insects and spiders.
Fear of spiders causes
As with many phobias, a fear of spiders can develop because a person sees the reaction to spiders of others. It’s a learned response after having seen a family member, teacher or authority figure react strongly.
Some experts consider a fear of spiders to be culturally related. We see that in certain parts of Africa, large spiders are feared, but in other places, for example, in South Africa, the very same creatures are not only not feared, but actually eaten. So, if you had been born in one place you would be socialised to love spiders and in another place, you would be brought up to fear them.
As with many phobias, a fear of spiders can develop since a person had a traumatic experience involving a spider. This might have been a spider bite, for example.
Treatments for fear of spiders
I use hypnotherapy to help people overcome their fear of spiders. However, there of course many alternatives to look into also. Often, a combination of counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and relaxation techniques can be helpful in the treatment of arachnophobia.
If you opt for CBT, the general approach is to use exposure therapy together with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Cognitive behavioural therapy involves conversations where you are encouraged to think differently, replacing the negative automatic thoughts associated with spiders with more rational thoughts. Exposure therapy will utilise systemic desensitization to treat arachnophobia. This involves you slowly seeing spiders and slowly, at your own pace, coming in contact with them.
Hypnotherapy for fear of spiders using what can be called cognitive reframing. Using visualisations and imagery, I help you learn to change the way you view and feel about spiders. Rather than considering them as disgusting and dangerous, you learn to simply be less bothered by them, to feel neutral.
In extreme cases antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication might be prescribed by your doctor as a solution to your fear of spiders. However that would be in quite extreme circumstances.
A new method, which can be used in conjunction with hypnotherapy is virtual reality therapy for fear of spiders. During a session a client is exposed to virtual representations of spiders. This thought may not be as effective as the technique of gradually exposing the individual to live spiders, since the brain knows it’s just an image and not a real spider.
Overcome your fear of spiders
You can do a lot to begin the process yourself. You might read about spiders or consider going to a zoo. When you research about the common spiders found in a city like London, you will discover that they rarely bite people. Yes, there are a few dangerous ones, but that’s the vast minority. Even if someone is bitten by a spider or insect in London or the UK, the result will normally be easily treated and relatively minor in severity. It’s good to remember that of the more than 63,000 species of spiders in the world, just 2% of them are dangerous and certainly a minority of that 2% have even been to or heard of the UK!
If you would like help with your fear of spiders, phobia hypnotherapy can bring you renewed calm around inspects and live in peace with any environment you find yourself in.