Tag Archives: spider

The Harry Potter approach to fear

spider phobia

I’m guessing most of you have seen at least some of the Harry Potter films.

If you haven’t, go and check them out immediately – they’re ace!

In one of the films the students are asked to use a spell to defeat a monster that manifests itself as the young wizard’s greatest fear. For one of them, the greatest fear they had was that of spiders.

Arachnophobia.

It’s pretty common.

The way that the creature is dealt with is by using the ‘Riddikulus’ spell. You imagine it being as ridiculous as you can.

I think they’re onto something here.

Can you honestly be scared of something that you find funny?

If you’re scared of spiders, try giving it a silly name, with a funny voice. Hear it talking to you asking to be your friend. Put it in some strange outfit or think about it being drunk or scared. Play with the ideas in your imagination.

The weird thing about your subconscious (well, one of the weird things) is that it has trouble distinguishing real memories from imagined ones. If you play around with this concept often enough it starts to remember spiders as silly and funny rather than scary.

Now, isn’t that ridiculous!

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Spider Season

In the UK we are fortunate not to have a real spider problem – that is unless you have arachnophobia.

There are varying figures reported for how may people are affected by fear of spiders, but it seems to me that the numbers are quite large. It varies from a paralysing fear at just looking at a picture to just not wanting to pick one up, but it affects a LOT of people.

We are just about to enter ‘Spider Season’

This is the time of year when we are most likely to see our friendly house spiders on the move. They are one of the larger species of spider we have, though they pose no direct danger to us. I say direct danger, because I have heard of people doing themselves all sorts of injuries trying to get away from them, from tripping over, to falling down stairs. In reality, the danger is our own fear, not the oblivious arachnid.

So why do they suddenly appear in September and October?

I rather naively thought they were coming in to get out of the cold, but it turns out they live in your house all year round. They are normally quite shy and much more careful about revealing themselves. The rather amusing or disturbing truth (depending on point of view) is that they are on the search for a mate. This is their breeding season and as shy retiring little creatures they normally stay away from hysterical humans, but their primal drives force them out of hiding in search of their perfect partner.

So next time you see a stranded spider stuck in your sink, or dashing out from under your sofa, don’t reach for the slipper with murder in mind – see him for what he is, (for he is, indeed, likely to be male) a slightly frustrated desperate little dude, just trying to find a girl…

If that’s not enough to help you get over your fear, maybe try a therapy. There are many very effective solutions available from exposure therapy to Hypnotherapy.

Don’t live your life in fear and don’t teach it to your kids – You’ll be happier and so will the spiders 🙂

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