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Spider Phobia

Spider phobia (arachnophobia) is a specific phobia, animal subtype, which affects a great deal of people in the UK. Like all phobias, this is an irrational fear of spiders. In fact, there are no poisonous spiders here in the UK and so they pose no potential threat; however, some individuals are so fearful that it begins to have an effect on their every day lives. When individuals experience a great deal of distress, it is about time to resolve this problem and see your local doctor. Alternatively, you can make a self-referral by ringing up a local psychologist, counsellor or psychotherapist for an appointment.



Most people who suffer from phobic anxiety tend to exhibit avoidance behaviour. For example, a spider phobic will tend to avoid cleaning a bath tub if there is a spider in the room. There are copious avoidance behaviours and the following list provides some examples:


1. Refusing to take out the bin for fear of coming across a spider

2. Forcing your boyfriend to go into the cellar first to check for spiders

3. Refusing to go on holiday in an exotic place

4. Avoiding reading a wildlife book for fear of seeing a picture of a spider



When people get anxious, they exhibit a number of physiological or psychological responses – thus, these problems can be either somatic or cognitive. More often than not, clients experience one or two sensations associated with stress. The following is a list of some of them:


1. Sweating

2. Fear of losing control

3. Hyper-alertness

4. Palpitations

5. Shortness of breath

6. Chest pain

7. Shaking or trembling

8. Dizziness or lightheadedness

9. Fear of dying

10. Nausea

11. Abdominal pain and/or tightness

12. Paresthesias

13. Derealization or depersonalization (dissociation)

14. Hot chill or flush


How is it treated?

Systematic desensitization. The therapist will devise an anxiety hierarchy of potentially stressful situations involving a spider and, in the hypnotherapy, you gradually work through mastering each of the scenarios. Your therapist will also pair the phobic stimulus with relaxation: gradually, as you master your fear, you become more confident and more relaxed around the feared object.


How many sessions do I need?

Everyone is different. I tend to offer between 4-6 sessions and then review the situation. Some individuals require more than 6 sessions, while others are able to deal with the phobia in a very short space of time.


So, how do I book an appointment?

When you are ready, ring your local psychologist for an appointment. My contact number is 0207 467 8564.


David Kraft

UKCP Accredited Psychotherapist, Counsellor & Hypnotherapist 


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