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Question
Posted by: Sam | 2009/11/09

arachnophobia

Dear Cyber Shrink.

I have a terrible fear of spiders. I know the reason I have arachnophobia is because of an experience I had as a child  my brother and cousin, pinned me down, and emptied a jar of spiders on my chest.

I recently had a very bad spider experience. I got in the car after dark (passenger side) and when a family member put the outside light on, I saw a giant rain spider on the car door’ s window right by my face. Needless to say I became uncontrollably hysterical, and had some sort of panic attack. It took a long time for me to calm down (this is not an unusual reaction). I wouldn’ t stop crying till I was in my own house, and had a changed set of clothes on.

This last experience seems to have done more damage than my previous experiences / episodes. When I am relaxed at home, I will suddenly spot something running with the corner of my eye. I will jump and scream, and when I look, there is in fact nothing there. I also have nightmares about being covered in spiders, and smack myself awake. If I feel something tickle me (like the bed sheets) I jump and smack myself.

All these things are starting concern my fiancé . He wants me to see someone that can hypnotize me. I really don’ t want to be hypnotized, and I’ m not even sure that I want to be “ cured”  of my fear. As far as I’ m concerned, my fear “ protects”  me from the spiders.

Should I see someone about my fear? Who do I see about it? And how are they going to help me, what are the techniques used to overcome fear?

Thank you

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

OK, people who suggest hypnosis are usually looking for magic, not health care, and I approve of your reluctance to be hypnotized as such. And your early experiece ( how cruel other kids can be !) would easily drive one towards a phobia.
What WOULD help you, as it can be useful in all varieties of phobias, would be Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy, CBT, the improved version of the older form of Behaviour therapy which was always excellent for treating phobias.
What it would do would be to help you regain control of the situation, and to reduce the excessive fear of spiders. Spiders are unattractive creatures to most of us, but some are harmless and easilt dealt with, and only a few are possibly harmful. Its useful to be able to be calm enough to distinguish the two, and to take calm steps to getting rid of the creature, or protecting yourself, as you'll have noticed they are not especially impressed by screaming.
There would be no aim to totally remove any concern about spiders ( as hypnosis might indeed try to do ) but to get it in proportion, to be no more anxiious than is appropriate and to be best able to choose the best way of responding to them.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2009/11/10

OK, people who suggest hypnosis are usually looking for magic, not health care, and I approve of your reluctance to be hypnotized as such. And your early experiece ( how cruel other kids can be !) would easily drive one towards a phobia.
What WOULD help you, as it can be useful in all varieties of phobias, would be Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy, CBT, the improved version of the older form of Behaviour therapy which was always excellent for treating phobias.
What it would do would be to help you regain control of the situation, and to reduce the excessive fear of spiders. Spiders are unattractive creatures to most of us, but some are harmless and easilt dealt with, and only a few are possibly harmful. Its useful to be able to be calm enough to distinguish the two, and to take calm steps to getting rid of the creature, or protecting yourself, as you'll have noticed they are not especially impressed by screaming.
There would be no aim to totally remove any concern about spiders ( as hypnosis might indeed try to do ) but to get it in proportion, to be no more anxiious than is appropriate and to be best able to choose the best way of responding to them.

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