There is an app for everything, no matter your qualm, desire, or need and living in the 21st century. Whether it be an iPhone or Android, each app store has the power to source whatever it is you need. Thanks to the power of the internet, and virtual reality, you can now use an iPhone app which helps you cope and battle with your fear of spiders, known as arachnophobia.
The developers of the app claim that around 60% of Brits claim to be petrified of the eight-legged animal in some shape or form. And even the situation arises, we all seem to have our own strategy of dealing with a spider situation – whether it be placing it under a glass, waiting for the next person home to deal with it, or squashing it with last week’s newspaper. The virtual reality app called ‘Arachnophobia Free’ was developed and designed by Dr Russell Green, a British psychiatrist who had a severe irrational fear of spiders and so wanted to cure himself of such a phobia that affected not only himself but thousands of people in the UK. The app resembles a kids game – the spiders are animated and considering you have phobia of the arachnids, the spiders are not your usual freaky suspects. The spider is cute – and wears a yellow hat. As the game progresses, you eventually come face-to-face with a tarantula though a virtual reality and you even attempt to ‘hold’ it and hope to overcome your anxiety. The reason this takes place in the game is to desensitise your brain – slowly exposing the user to the object of the phobia.
So what other ways are there to rid yourself of your fear of spiders?
The Zoological Society of London, commonly known as London Zoo has a dedicated programme to help you overcome your fear of spiders. The Friendly Spider Programme is a course that runs throughout one afternoon, and has been put together to eradicate your phobia. The programme is designed to include cognitive behavioural therapy and hypnotherapy to alleviate the symptoms of a phobia. Currently anyone afraid of spiders can encounter sweating, nausea, rapid heartbeats and panic.
So what’s the structure?
The session is led by John Clifford, a hypnotherapist who will explain in detail how phobias become such a thing and how they come to exist in so many forms. Clifford will also lead a series of questions to the participants which are designed to find out the exact reasoning for being afraid of spiders.
Dave Clarke, who is the expert of spiders at London Zoo will then run a session providing key facts about spiders, whilst answering questions in regards to the questions raised in the earlier session. Clarke’s intention from the session is to show everyone that there is no reason to be scared. Later in the afternoon, there is a group hypnosis session which will remove any negative subconscious feelings about the arachnids and try to embrace the new positive feelings, Dave Clarke tried to instill.
And the best part – or the worst, depending on how you feel by the end of it, you have the opportunity to visit the spiders at the zoo. Here you can practice to catch British house spiders, or meet and great a Mexican red-knee. The course started in 1993, so it is well-established and understanding of the requirements needed to help anyone, no matter the age overcome their phobia of spiders.
Since 1993, the programme has helped cure 3,000 people, aged from 7 to 82. And what’s more, following analysis after the participants have been, more than 80% report they are now calm, confident and more relaxed if encountered with a spider.
So if you’re interested in the app, you can find it on the Apple store. Likewise, if you think the Friendly Spider Programme will help you that little bit more, then visit https://www.zsl.org/experiences/friendly-spider-programme