• Estimated 12 million arachnophobes in the UK
• Drawing ‘silly’ pictures of spiders can cure arachnophobia
• October marks the end of mating season, resulting in a surge of spider numbers
Harley Street Hypnotherapist and Phobia Guru Adam Cox has been curing people’s arachnophobia up and down the nation using a pioneering new technique. Drawing partly from art therapy, Adam helps patients form new associations with creepy crawlies by asking them to draw silly or unusual features onto a picture of a spider. These can range from oversized smiles to clown noses to whatever the person deems to be particularly unthreatening.
The idea behind this is that by drawing these silly and ridiculous features onto an image of the spider, the spider appears less threatening and removes the past association of fear. The exercise begins with patients picturing a tiny spider within a clear glass box and growing the spider to the size of a kitten. The spider then becomes less intimidating by imagining the spider with a silly haircut as well as accessorises such as glasses and clothing. The imaginary spider is also given a friendly voice and name to match its appearance. Patients then communicate with the spider, asking it reasons for being frightened of humans allowing the individual to develop empathetic feelings towards the spider. The patients are then given a piece of paper with an outline of a spider on it and asked to use colour and amusing features to make their spider seems harmless.
Adam explains how he came to use the technique and why it has been so effective:
‘The Spider Courage Experience is unique in arachnophobia treatment as it uses a variety of psychological 'tools' to treat its clients. This is based on the fact that everyone is an individual and different people will respond and resonate to different methods in therapy. One of these psychological tools is based on the power of art therapy.’
‘Art therapy is an exciting new field of mental health treatment that is gaining more and more evidence in helping people achieve improved states of wellbeing and deeper levels of positive understanding of themselves. Studies have shown that art therapy helps people take problems out of the mind and work it out in the physical world. This form of self-exploration can assist people to consider and work out more positive alternative responses to existing personal narratives.’
Britain Stelly, the founder of the Spider Courage Experience, says:
‘People love to have the permission to be a child again and let their imagination flow. They use the funny image they create and the silly name they give their spider to help give them courage and a different emotional state when it is time to do the immersive therapy. There is something incredibly powerful about taking something imagined in the mind and making it real on paper. It solidifies the imagination exercise and makes it more lasting and memorable. On our feedback forms, many people site the art therapy technique as one of the most effective.’
‘As an artist myself, I already knew the therapeutic power of art. I felt strongly that it could be a revolutionary method in phobia treatment and so far, this seems to be the case.'
By the end of the four-hour session, participants are able to hold a tarantula and a house spider in their hand. There are an estimated 12 million people in the UK who suffer from some form of arachnophobia and as September marks the start of ‘spider season’ where male spiders make their way indoors to find a mate, expect to see fair few of them. With any number up to 100 spiders thought to lurking in each British home over autumn, now is the time to get that fear of our eight-legged friends over and done with.
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Adam Cox is available for broadcast interviews, radio ISDN interviews and would be delighted to provide comment upon request. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 3958 7195 to set up an interview or comment.
Notes to Editor:
Adam Cox is a fully insured clinical hypnotherapist that qualified with the LCCH, is a member of the BSCH (British Society of Clinical Hypnotherapists) and listed on the GHR (General Hypnotherapist Register) Adam has worked with celebrities and CEO’s and is often featured in the UK media.
Visit Phobia Guru for more information.
For those looking to experience the immersion therapy technique, either for a feature or personal, visit here
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