What is arachnophobia?
Arachnophobia is a condition estimated to affect up to 6.1% of the global population, and is one of the most commonly talked about phobias. It is, of course, the fear of our eight-legged arachnid foe; the spider.
Here in the UK, spiders are officially our most disliked insect (a recent survey by YouGov showed that 20% of Brits classed spiders as their least favourite creepy-crawly Source: https://yougov.co.uk/topics/science/articles-reports/2021/06/04/spiders-wasps-or-cockroaches-what-britains-most-di). However, as well as being commonly reviled by the general population, for some people spiders evoke a more serious fear that can sometimes become difficult to deal with.
Why do phobias happen?
There are several different reasons that phobias occur. Some people develop phobias following a frightening or traumatic event. There can be a particular risk of this happening if the trauma takes place early in a person’s development. Phobias tend most commonly to form in children up to the age of 10, and can then continue into adulthood.
Phobias may also occur as a result of hearing a disturbing piece of news or information- sometimes simply hearing about a distressing event that someone else has experienced can be enough to induce a phobia in a person, particularly if the news or information is unexpected, shocking and frightening.
It is also fairly common for phobias to be passed down between generations- if a parent or close relative has a particular phobia, it is not unlikely that you will also develop a phobia of the same thing, especially if you are exposed to your parent or relative’s phobic reactions early in your life. If the person who cares for you and protects you appears to be afraid of something, you are likely to learn that that thing should be feared. This is one of the most common causes of intense phobias of spiders. Young children who observe their parents or guardians showing acute signs of fear in the presence of spiders very often come to see spiders as objects of fear. If their caregiver’s reaction to the appearance of a spider is particularly strong, this can quickly become ingrained as a phobia, and can become pervasive in later life.
When does a fear of spiders become a problem?
Many people may argue that their fear of spiders is far from irrational- our fears exist to protect us from danger, and in some cases, a bite from a spider can genuinely be a threat to a person’s health and wellbeing, and even when not life-threatening, can be extremely unpleasant. Despite this, there are several kinds of cases where a fear of spiders can reach a level where it poses its own risks to a person’s safety and wellbeing.
For those who experience an acute and debilitating panic reaction in the presence of a spider, for example, a spider phobia can pose a serious threat to their safety and that of those around them. Imagine, for instance, that an arachnophobe is driving a vehicle, operating machinery or handling heavy or potentially dangerous items such as kitchen equipment, hot water, or an iron- and a spider appears! Losing control of your reactions in such circumstances can become a real problem, and can be far more of a genuine danger than the threat of the spider itself!
Equally, arachnophobia can start to become a serious issue if it begins to affect the choices a person makes about the way in which they live their lives. Some people may limit themselves from planning trips to certain places where they fear spiders may be present, and many may exhibit fear when entering new places, or even getting into the bath, shower or bed. Many people with spider phobias find themselves needing to carry out rigorous examinations of bedsheets and bathrooms before allowing themselves to enter these places. This can take up copious time which might be better spent doing other things; and a person may also find it difficult to relax even once they have carried out these thorough checks. Remaining in such a constant state of high alert can be taxing on both body and mind.
In the types of cases mentioned above, it is always best to seek help for your spider phobia. Although our fears are meant to help protect us, we should never allow them to take command of our lives, and seeking help for your arachnophobia can be an important step in regaining control over the way you want to live your life.
How can hypnotherapy help?
For many people who have found themselves debilitated by arachnophobia throughout their lives, hypnotherapy can be a life-changing treatment.
Over the years, I have treated many clients who have, until that point, allowed their phobias to take control of the way they live, and once they are released from the phobic reaction triggered by the object they fear, they often find that they are able to live a much more free and happy life.
Regression hypnotherapy can be a particularly useful method when it comes to treating clients with spider phobia. In this form of hypnotherapy, the hypnotherapist places the client into the relaxed state of hypnosis. During hypnosis, the client is guided by the therapist to revisit certain memories which may have been repressed in the subconscious mind. As the source of spider phobia is so often rooted in early memories formed as a young child and stored in the subconscious, for instance memories of observing a family member or other caregiver displaying a strong fearful reaction in the presence of a spider, this method can be very potent. The hypnotherapist can transport a client back to this early memory and help them to reframe it, changing the way they respond and react to their parent or caregiver’s fear. This can really help to free the client from the effects of their childhood experiences, and can change the course of their future reactions to the object of their fear.
Whilst in the hypnotic state, the hypnotherapist can also guide the client to attach more positive and calming associations to the image of a spider, which can help to temper or manage the feelings of intense fear they will have previously experienced in the presence of spiders.
Hypnotherapy is a popular choice of treatment when it comes to helping those suffering from arachnophobia and other phobias and similar conditions. If you are suffering from a debilitating fear of spiders, or if you are letting any other kind of fear affect your life, you may wish to consider whether hypnotherapy could help you break free from fear!
If you suffer from a fear of spiders, you may not realise that you are in very good company! Several famous names have openly admitted to their spider phobia. Take the following celebrities, for example:
Justin Timberlake- who famously admitted to his fear of spiders- confessing that he once needed to ask someone to remove a spider from a hotel room he was staying in, as he was too frightened to do it himself!
The actress Jennifer Lawrence- who may have a tough exterior, but is also famously terrified of spiders, admitting to having broken down in tears when a spider appeared on the set of ‘The Hunger Games’.
Freddie Mercury, the famous frontman of the legendary band Queen, who was described by his partner Jim Hutton to have had an intense fear of spiders, and would often run away from spiders around his home.
If you are looking for a treatment that can help you manage and deal with your arachnophobia, why not get in touch with me for a consultation. Get in touch to find out how hypnotherapy might be able to help you!