In this post I aim to discuss arachnophobia and how to rid yourself of anxiety! If you had arachnophobia or ‘spider phobia’, would you be the first to spot a spider in a room full of people? “For sure” I hear you say, and you’re right! The more we are afraid of something, the more we look out for it, and ultimately find it!
It’s no wonder why so many people struggle with spiders! They are possibly one of natures ugliest creatures! They’re creepy, crawly and downright sinister looking. They do however have a very important purpose, see here!
But how exactly do we get from avoiding spiders like the plague and actually kicking our fear to the curb? That’s a very good question and one that I want to address today.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for specific phobias such as arachnophobia is common and you can be referred to a good therapist by your general practitioner. What they do is help you to work on your phobia using exposure therapy. This is a fancy term for desensitising you to your feared stimuli. It all is done at a pace that will challenge you at a pace you are comfortable.
It helps to develop a ‘hierarchy of fear’. This is like a list from 1-10 of easiest to most feared situation. With 1 being easiest situation to challenge yourself in and 10 being the worst and most difficult.
You might be so scared of spiders that even the thought of touching a spiders web fills you with fear, then the therapist would look at how to start exposure in a more graded way. It might even mean starting exposure therapy as imagined exposure to begin desensitisation.
- Imagine a spider sitting in a spiders web
- imagine touching the web
- Sitting in a garden where spiders may be
- Standing 10 metres away from a spiders web
- Touching a spiders web
- Touching a spiders web and holding it for 5 minutes
- Standing 10 metres from a spider in its web for 5 minutes
- Touching a spider more a second
- Holding a spider for 1 minute
- Holding a spider for 10 minutes
Why don’t you start to build up your own ‘hierarchy of fear’? The best thing to do with fear is to challenge it because the more you try the easier it becomes. Then you begin to question just why you have been fearful for so long!