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Help with arachnophobia

  • 01-02-2022 8:10pm
    Registered Users Posts: 441 ✭✭

    Hi all,

    I'm wondering if anyone in the Dublin area has had success curing their fear of spiders? Mine can be quite stressful, and it's preventing me from travelling to tropical countries where there may be large spiders. Perhaps someone has had luck with CBT in this? Any advice appreciated.


    Post edited by The Black Oil on


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 18,039 CMod ✭✭✭✭The Black Oil

    Moved from Psychology. Personal Issues charter now applies.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 30,645 Mod ✭✭✭✭Faith

    CBT generally has very good outcomes with phobias so I would recommend that approach. Make sure you check the qualifications of the counsellor though, you don't want someone who has done a weekend course in "CBT Skills" or something.

  • Registered Users Posts: 62 ✭✭InPsyDer

    I have very recently been trying to find ways to deal with this myself so I have a couple of suggestions. I'm a lifelong arachnophobe and have been embarrassed and upset many many times by my own inability to deal with this fear. I am soon to live on my own for the first time and have decided I really need to try to get to grips with it in order to not get upset when there's an "encounter" and I have no one around to help! 

    I set myself a goal of dealing with it little by little by exposure, ie handling a very small spider first, then bigger ones whenever I came across them over time. I don't say this lightly, anyone truly phobic will know what an abhorrent idea this is! But having a plan and steps to achieve did help me. Each slightly bigger one felt like a new win and I was so proud of myself! It also makes the arachnophobia feel like a project you are working on instead of just this overwhelming thing that controls you. 

    Most recently I managed to make myself actually pick up one of the quite big ones that turn up in the autumn. I would never have believed I would reach the point of being able to do that and even though to some people that would be nothing, for me it counts of one of my proudest moments after a life of fearing spiders! 

    Things that helped:

    - Telling friends I was going to do this and then getting them to encourage and cheer me on when a test subject appeared

    - Being a bit drunk for a couple of handlings - Dutch courage really helped and then the next time I was like ok you already did this drunk, you can do it again sober! 

    - Accepting that until you're over it your body is just going to have the phobia reaction whatever you do, and you actually can just make yourself pick up the spider regardless - I was shaking like a leaf when I had to actually touch one but once it was trapped in my hand I was like well now who's the boss haha! (internally - externally still shaking! But I know this will improve the more I do it, the handling I've done so far has already diminished the phobia SO much!!!) 

    - I watched a ton of stuff about spiders on YouTube. I will always find them completely repulsive but I'm sort of fascinated by them now too. 

    I really hope any of this helps you, I know how annoying the whole thing is and I really think the best way through it is to just grit your teeth and make some contact. Any kind of talking therapy you do will likely encourage you to eventually do this as well so you're just skipping the middleman! Best of luck.