How to overcome fear of spiders

Susie asks…

“Can Happy Guide be used to overcome fear of spiders?”

© Ronny Andre

The answer is yes, with a bit of extra “application” detail. A lot would depend on the severity of the phobia and the aim — what is the outcome wanted?

But let’s assume a general case… First, you have to deconstruct any belief that is helping to fuel the overreaction. Basically — what are the FACTS?

Where I live spiders cannot hurt anybody so the facts are very simple. In other parts of the world, some spiders are harmful so then we’re into “risk assessment” — and comparing that risk to things they don’t over react to, other life risks. Think about the facts little and often to bed them in well…

If there are harmful spiders around, you need to think about what is an APPROPRIATE reaction and behavior considering the risk.

Second, deal with the reaction itself. The nicest way to do this is by a series of desensitization steps. Here we need to take into account your comfort zone and figure out what little step we can take to get a win. Here’s some steps that could do the job…

  1. Use distraction to simply forget about spiders. Drop “the problem.”
  2. Put a little photo of a spider on your wall. A photo is harmless… right? Use distraction to forget it’s there.
  3. Get a tiny plastic spider and stick it on your kitchen wall. It’s plastic right? It cannot hurt you no way no how. Stick it on the wall and use distraction to forget it’s there. This will soften the reaction to the SIGHT of spiders.
  4. Get a little harmless spider and put it somewhere in a suitable housing — like a pet :-) Regularly go look at it from X distance.

By continuing like this with little steps, you can easily get to the stage where you can even hold spiders.

Each step is triggering the fear slightly and then allowing you to move into comfort with that step. It’s very important when dealing with fear to not trigger a reaction that does not produce a WIN.

You can get over all sorts of inappropriate fear reactions using attention control, looking at the facts and baby steps in new comfort zones.

Best wishes,
Michael Kinnaird

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