Fear of Spiders? | Case Studies to Treat Arachnophobia

Fear of Spiders? | Case Studies to Treat Arachnophobia

Where Does the Fear of Spiders Come From?


fear of spiders phobia


Arachnophobia or having the intense fear of spiders is the earliest as well as the more typical anxiety experienced in Western society. Just observing the response to spiders shown by an arachnophobic person may seem illogical to others and also frequently to the sufferer himself. For some individuals, it is a learned reaction which means that they discover to be afraid only after having actually seen others being frightened. What is the origin of this fear and what is the best way to manage it if one has tried everything from avoidance to considering medication? Answers to these questions in this article will explore alternative research that has been conducted to address solutions.


Can Virtual Reality be Used to Overcome Arachnophobia?


In a current research study, Garcia-Palacios and his colleagues monitored twenty-three participants. Ninety percent were female and the average age was twenty-nine. The subject donned a “VR Helmet” that positions two goggle screens close to the customer’s eyes. Each eye obtained a slightly different photo of the digital world. The picture revealed to the left eye was countered a little from that seen by the right eye.


The mind merged these two pictures into a single 3-D picture, aiding to offer users the illusion that the online atmosphere has depth. The essence of immersive reality is the illusion it provided users that they were in the computer-generated environment. In this research study, the area the people visited was a digital kitchen where they grabbed the plump furry body of an online Guyana bird-eating arachnid.


Treatment included a standard exposure protocol supplied by two knowledgeable clinical psychologists. The treatment was composed of steady direct exposure tasks. To have finished the treatment experiment, the individual needed to be able to achieve a last direct exposure objective, holding a large virtual spider with responsive comments while reporting reduced degrees of anxiety. The previous number of sessions to achieve this goal was four and it varied from three to ten.


During the initial session, individuals saw a virtual spider in an online kitchen and approached as closely as they might utilize their 3-D wand. The goal was to come within arm’s length grasp of the digital spider. During the session/s, individuals touched the digital spider with their virtual hand. The virtual spider reacted to being touched by getting away. People then used a virtual “spider vase” with their cyber-hand. When they dropped the online holder, animated spider legs drifted to the flooring of the online kitchen area with a quick sound effect. Participants duplicated this activity until they reported little stress and anxiety.


Making use of both subjective and objective measures of fear, the virtual reality exposure with responsive augmentation considerably minimized concern and also avoidance of spiders after approximately four, one hour virtual reality treatment sessions. This is the very first regulated research to demonstrate the performance of virtual reality exposure treatment for therapy of fear of spiders.


Should Sleep Follow an Intense Psychotherapy Session?


Direct exposure therapy for illogical worry of spiders in this research study appeared to be more effective if it was followed by sleep. Psychiatric therapy for Arachnophobia anxiety, the research recommended, should be combined with healthy and balanced rest. It appears that our human brains seem to utilize rest, possibly REM sleep, particularly to improve new psychological memories.


Sixty-six girls participated in the study of Arachnophobia and rest. The research focused on sleep’s part in decreasing concern of spiders in undergraduate females. The goal was to see how spider anxiety was influenced by sleep, insomnia, and time of day. Anxiety extinction is an active procedure of creating a brand-new psychological memory; in this instance, a memory of spiders not related to risk or injury.


The women were separated into four groups: rest, wake, early morning, night. Each group viewed a YouTube video of a spider was created to train the phobic person not to recoil at the thought of seeing the spiders. The “early morning” as well as “evening” teams were controls to rule out the probability that time of day, instead of rest, had a part in anxiety.


Randomly, in sixty percent of the sessions, a loud noise would go off. The researchers determined startle reaction to the sound, utilizing a sensor on the hand that measures palm-sweat. After a twelve hour delay, the ladies viewed additional spider videos. The researchers once more measured the women’s worry, of both the new as well as old spider videos, to see exactly how rest affected their ongoing anxiety.



Researchers found that the hand-sweat reaction to the spider and also the video’s score with regards to unpleasantness were low amongst females that got twelve hours of overnight rest. The twenty-three ladies that stayed awake for a complete day after watching the spider video clips had a solid hand-sweat feedback to the old spider when they saw it once more at the end of the day. Sleep also safeguarded the ladies versus worry of a brand-new spider: The “wide awake” team located a new spider also a lot more frightening than the spider they saw before, while the sleepers did not.


Researchers concluded that when memory is reinforced by rest that the desired exposure treatment to happen should take place before going to bed. The one disadvantage of this method is that they understood that people are much more responsive to fear at night. Exposure therapy might provide them sleeplessness if individuals are more anxious before bed. So a much better method could be to have people rest right after therapy to achieve desired results.


Does the Size of the Spider Really Matter?


fear of spiders phobia name


The scientists in this study recruited fifty-seven people who self-identified as having a spider anxiety. Each participant then communicated at particular time factors over a duration of eight weeks with five various selections of arachnids differing in dimension from one to six inches long.



The spiders were located in an exposed glass tank. Individuals started their experiences twelve feet from the container where they were asked to approach the spider. Once they were standing next to the container, they were asked to direct the spider around the tank by touching it with an 8-inch probe, as well as later with a shorter probe.



Throughout these experiences, researchers asked participants to report exactly how scared they were feeling on a scale of 0-100 according to an index of subjective systems of distress. After the experiences, participants completed extra self-report measures of their particular concern of spiders, any panic signs they experienced during the experiences with the spiders, as well as ideas regarding decreased anxiety.


An analysis of the outcomes showed that higher typical optimal rankings of distress during the spider encounters were related to estimates that the spiders were larger compared to what they really were. Similar positive parallels were seen between over-estimates of spider size and also participants’ greater typical top levels of stress and anxiety, higher average numbers of panic symptoms as well as general spider fear.


Researchers concluded that worry not only changes one’s perception of the point of being afraid, yet can affect an individual’s automated attitude towards things particularly dealing with spiders. Those who have created an automatic adverse mindset toward an item that they fear could have a harder time eliminating their fear.


Though people with Arachnophobia are unlikely to seek therapy, using spiders in this research was a practical method to examine the complicated effects of worry on perception as well as how those results might cause worry to linger. Avoiding this, fear not only keeps a person in a vicious cycle, they also can be negatively affected for a long period of time. Considering alternative methods like the research above can perhaps give greater reasons to seek a licensed professional.

Mark Barrus

Mark Barrus is the Director of Healthy Life Centers. I have been in the Hypnosis industry for over 20 years, and have written many articles about the efficacy and effectiveness of Hypnotherapy to overcome unwanted habits and actions. Twenty years of Case Study research and examination have helped me to inform the industry on the results and be a leader in the field. I originally worked with Dr. Richard Neves, the former head of the American Board of Hypnotherapy, training other Hypnotherapists in Advanced Smoking Cessation protocols. In February 2005, we also started Healthy Life Centers, in Orange County, CA

Tagged with: