Is your spider phobia putting you at risk?


I just read a news report about a woman in the US who had panicked when she saw a spider in her car which resulted in a pretty serious crash. The car was pretty smashed up so she was lucky to come away with just an injured leg.

Arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, is a very common specific phobia. Considering how common it is and the fact I specialise in fears and phobias, I can count on two hands the number of clients who have come to see me for hypnotherapy to help them with their spider phobia.

There are a number of reasons people might not seek help for their spider phobia. Some people feel embarrassed about their fear or view it as trivial in comparison to other issues they might be experiencing. For others, they might feel that their fear doesn’t really impact their life or stop them from doing anything they want to do. Some might think they’ll just avoid places and situations where there might be spiders and then it won’t be an issue.

For the most part, phobias do not put you in danger, with the exception of some medical phobias. However, your reactions to the feared stimulus could potentially put you at risk, like the woman who crashed her car.

I have personally witnessed people swerving in their car because a wasp or bee has flown in the car window or a bird has flown towards the windscreen. Of course, people without phobias can behave in this way too in these scenarios, but having a phobia tends to increase the likelihood of this kind of reaction. The local police who attended the incident in the US that I mention above wrote on their Facebook page about it, urging drivers with a fear of spiders to seek to overcome it because “lives depend on it.”

Have you ever swerved your car because you’ve spotted a spider, or what you thought was a spider, in your car? Or put yourself at risk in some other way because you panicked when you saw a spider? Then perhaps now is the time for you to work to gain more control of your reactions.

Hypnotherapy can be a really useful tool to help you change the way you think about spiders as well as how you respond when you see one. I use evidence-based techniques such as systematic desensitisation and exposure with my clients to help reduce their fear.

What would it mean to you if you weren’t scared of spiders anymore?