Arachnophobia refers to a fear of spiders which is sufficiently severe to interfere with the life of the patient. Some people have such a fear of spiders that they will make an extensive search of the bed room every night before they can go to sleep to ensure that there are no spiders lurking any where in the room. Some people will send their partner to inspect the room before they will enter it. In very severe cases the person cannot even say the word spider.
When using hypnotherapy for the treatment of Arachnophobia, a very carefully graded programme is used to introduce the patient first to simple line drawings of spiders then to coloured photographs of spiders and only when they can cope with these with out anxiety are toy spiders introduced. This graded programme then moves on to dead and live spiders respectively beginning with the very small and working up to larger specimens. The patient is taken through each step of the treatment programme first in hypnosis and then in real life and as the treatment progresses he/she gradually becomes more confident about encountering spiders. David Kraft has found that if the patient perseveres with the treatment it is possible that eventually they will be able to release a spider from a jam jar and allow it to run across their hand with out anxiety.