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  • Neil Colvin

Terrified of Arachnids? Thera-fi Counseling Services Will Help With Managing Arachnophobia!

Updated: 4 days ago

What is Arachnophobia?

Arachnophobia, or the fear of spiders, is a common phobia that can cause significant distress and interfere with daily life. A person with arachnophobia may avoid places where they might encounter spiders, such as their own backyard or other outdoor areas. They might also avoid activities like hiking or camping because they're afraid of encountering spiders in those environments. Arachnophobia can be caused by many things: genetics, childhood experiences with insects and/or animals (such as seeing a dog eat a spider), cultural beliefs about spiders.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that helps people to change negative patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. It's been shown to be effective in treating many different mental health problems including phobias like arachnophobia. CBT aims to help you identify your thoughts and feelings about spiders, as well as how these affect your behaviour towards them. You'll then learn how to challenge these unhelpful thoughts with more realistic ones so that they no longer control how you feel or behave around spiders.

Sarah: A Lead Therapist at

Sarah is a lead therapist at Thera-Fi Counseling Services, where she has helped countless people conquer their fears and phobias. She specializes in CBT therapy which can work for arachnophobia, but also works with clients who suffer from other anxiety disorders such as OCD and PTSD.

What to Expect from CBT Treatment When Managing Arachnophobia

CBT is a type of psychotherapy that helps you change your thoughts and behaviors. It's based on the idea that our thoughts affect our feelings, which in turn affect our actions. In CBT treatment, you'll learn how to identify unhelpful or negative thinking patterns and replace them with more realistic ones. CBT techniques used in arachnophobia treatment include:

  • Exposure therapy - This involves gradually exposing yourself to spiders and other things that cause you fear or anxiety until they no longer bother you as much. You may start by looking at pictures of spiders, then move on to watching videos of them crawling around before finally holding one yourself (with supervision).

  • Cognitive restructuring - This means challenging negative thoughts about spiders or other objects associated with your phobia so that they no longer have such a strong impact on how you feel about them

Benefits of CBT Therapy

CBT therapy is an evidence-based treatment that has been proven to help people overcome their fears and phobias. CBT therapists use a variety of techniques to reduce fear, anxiety, and avoidance behaviors. CBT can be used to manage arachnophobia by helping you:

  • Understand your fears

  • Identify triggers and cues that cause you to experience anxiety or panic

  • Learn how thoughts affect emotions

CBT Strategies for Managing Arachnophobia

Trigger Warning, There's a Few Scorpion Photos Up Ahead:

Releasing A Big Black Scorpion
A Movie Quality Looking Scorpion
  • Exposure therapy. This involves gradually exposing yourself to spiders and other stimuli that provoke fear, such as pictures or videos of spiders. You can also use exposure therapy with live animals if you are willing to do so. The goal when managing arachnophobia is to help you learn that there is no real danger from these creatures, so that your fear will decrease over time. In my case, I was exposed to a variety of arachnids while training in Florida forests and living in Kuwait. Of course, my fear was exacerbated when I was caught off guard by a banana spider repelling down directly in front of my face. Or when a wolf spider in Texas was on the exterior of my door and fell off when I opened it from the inside. I think we both ran in circles and screamed! And yes, I came across black widows, brown recluses, scorpions, vinegarroons, and the notorious camel spider. If you haven't seen the last two before, well they are literally two arachnids that have inspired movie monsters. Still, after living in their environments, I couldn't help but see these arachnids daily and so it gradually became normal. In Kuwait, I actually helped capture them and released them into a habitat that an engineering team made which looked like a small city equipped with little buildings, toy cars and figurines. It gave me a different perspective that at least scorpions were a bit slower and less scary.

A Faster Scorpion Being Relocated
Relocating A More Agile Scorpion
  • Cognitive restructuring. When we experience something scary, our thoughts often exaggerate the danger involved--for example, thinking "this spider might bite me" when it's actually harmless or unlikely that they would even try! With cognitive restructuring exercises like thought records (where you write down your thoughts before and after an encounter), you can learn how to challenge those irrational fears by looking at them more objectively instead of believing everything your mind says about them automatically without questioning anything first." I'm still not letting arachnids crawl on me but after getting up and close with them in Kuwait and even visiting a large enclosure as well as befriending a tick expert, I have dulled my fear from a 10 to a 6.

A chunky scorpion sitting in a water bottle
When Left Alone, They Move Slow

Tips for Coping with Arachnophobia

Here are some tips for coping with arachnophobia:

  • Stay calm. Panic can only make things worse, so try to keep your cool and stay in the moment.

  • Manage fear and anxiety by using relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation. You may also want to practice mindfulness, which involves focusing on your body and surroundings in order to reduce stress levels and tension in the body. This can help you relax during times when spiders are nearby without having any direct contact with them yet!

  • Reduce stress and tension by exercising regularly (even if it's just walking around), eating healthy foods like fruits and vegetables that contain vitamins C & E which aid in reducing inflammation throughout our bodies including our brains where fear responses originate from! It's a stretch but when you are dealing with this kind of fear, why not try the low hanging fruit?

When to Seek Professional Help

If you have a severe case of arachnophobia, it's important to seek help from a professional. The signs and symptoms of severe arachnophobia include:

  • Fear that interferes with your daily life (for example, being unable to go outside because you're afraid of spiders)

  • Avoidance behaviors (avoiding places where you think there might be spiders)

  • Panic attacks in response to spiders or other stimuli associated with spiders If you experience these symptoms on a regular basis, then it's time for CBT therapy!

You Can Take Action Now Or Read Another Article

You've now read all about the causes of arachnophobia and how you can use CBT therapy to overcome it. If you're ready to start your journey toward conquering your fear of spiders, contact Sarah at Thera-fi today by just going to our website and selecting "Book Initial Consult!" If reading about anxiety interests you, check out some other blog articles here: Anxiety From Severe Weather

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