Phobia treatment: Exposure therapy for a fear of spiders

by Kell

With graded exposure as a phobia treatment, you learn to confront your fear rather than avoiding/fleeing from the situation/object of your fear.

In other words you lose your terror and horror that you once felt when exposed to the stimuli.

Here is a hypothetical example of graded exposure for one of 10 most common phobias - a fear of spiders.

Step 1. Draw a picture of a spider

Step 2. Read about a spider

Step 3. Look at a picture of a spider

Step 4. Look at a video of a spider

Step 5. Touch a plastic model of a spider

Step 6. Look at a jar with a spider in the far end of the room

Step 7. Look at a jar with a small spider in the desk in front

Step 8. Hold the jar with a small spider in it.

Step 9. Take the small spider out of the jar.

Step 10. Hold a larger spider

Comments for Phobia treatment: Exposure therapy for a fear of spiders

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Sep 16, 2011
by: Anonymous

THIS IS DUMB. I will never hold a spider, NEVER NEVER NEVER. This didn't help at all. What kind of counseling is this? SERIOUSLY? Telling me to hold a small spider and then a large one after drawing a picture. You call that counseling? I call that stupid!

Nov 24, 2012
This is dumb NEW
by: Anonymous

Hold a large spider? That's hysterical. I'm NEVER going to hold a spider. Never gonna happen. This isn't helpful at all. This page is just stupid. Why am I even on this page?

Nov 26, 2012
It works! NEW
by: Anonymous

This is fairly basic but it's what I ended up doing to myself over several years. I used to be paralysed by the sight of spiders. But I started by researching them and fighting though the horror. They really are quite interesting. I remained terrified of the real thing of course, but eventually I got to the point where a picture of a spider would no longer completely terrify me. It would only cause initial alarm until I reminded myself that pictures can't hurt me. The biggest and hardest step was actually touching a spider. I was in a bar in Korea where they had several animals. One of them was a tarantula. While imbibing several strong drinks I watched as other patrons played with it. Seeing how gentle it was with them I was convinced by friends to let it cross my hand... I was frozen! (and never would have done that sober..)I survived and felt elated! I returned to the bar once a week for several weeks and handled it more and more every time. Eventually I returned without a single assisting beverage and let it crawl up my arm and onto my neck. It was so docile that you could prod it to get it moving and even pet it. I am still alarmed by spiders but they no longer paralyze me. When I see one I react to a far lesser degree and generally stay with it and watch or touch it until my anxiety has subsided. When I was in Cambodia I even ate Tarantula! Very tasty, you would be surprised!! So while this process is difficult it definitely works, it simply takes time and a lot of courage. (I don’t condone the use of Alcohol to subdue the fear response and while it kept me more relaxed it would be a much healthier option to go without.) Good luck with your fears! You can learn to control them and be the boss of your own mind!

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