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To ask your advice - has anyone cured a phobia through therapy etc?

(33 Posts)
LeaveItItsNotWorthIt Fri 25-Apr-14 20:29:24

I am considering paying £330 (which i would have to save up a long time to afford, but can do it without cutting back essentials) to phobiagone a company who say they can cure my phobia through various therapy and hypnosis techniques.

My phobia is of spiders, it affects my quality of life (i am jumpy from april-November, avoid sitting outside, wont use the loft or storage cupboards, spend time checking every room etc) I genuinely think if there was one between me and my child, i wouldn't be able to go to them (i would step through fire for her but not over a spider) PLEASE don't judge me for this.

I KNOW its ridiculous, i KNOW spiders wont hurt me, are more scared etc and i am a rational and fairly intelligent woman but if one is in the room i literally want to kill myself.

Am I crazy to consider so much money when it might not work and i cant afford it very easily?
Has anyone ever had a bad phobia cured by therapy or indeed anything else?
Please don't laugh at me as so many doctors have, i cant go through another summer so miserable.

WhiteLight Fri 25-Apr-14 20:37:08

Yes, I had 3 sessions of hypnotherapy because of a phobia of bees and wasps. It absolutely affected my quality of life and I was worried that I'd pass my fear onto my daughter, as my mum was phobic too and definitely passed her fears onto me.

I still don't like them, but I'm definitely not phobic any longer. I think I paid £40 or £50 per session, but it was money well spent. Go for it.

BerniesBurneze Fri 25-Apr-14 20:38:39

Yes, NLP it was marvellous and cheaper!!

Trebuchet Fri 25-Apr-14 20:42:54

Yes, I had 3 sessions of therapy £50 a go, and I'd say I'm about 75% better. I need a top up once a year but it's at a level I can live with now. Good luck. Once you're rid of it you'll wonder why you waited so long

Unsecreteaters Fri 25-Apr-14 20:52:48

Have you tried any self help books/websites? The overcoming series are pretty good. If you are in the UK you may be able to access supported self help (telephone support/face to face) through an IAPT scheme (improving access to psychological therapies). In my area (Hampshire) the scheme accepts self referrals. If your GP is not empathic to you, see a different one to talk about what help you might be able to access on the NHS.

LeaveItItsNotWorthIt Fri 25-Apr-14 20:58:24

Unsecret - There is a self refer scheme here but they can only do Wednesday mornings when i am in treatment for something already. Do self help books work?

ComradePlexiglass Fri 25-Apr-14 21:00:37

Are you in or near London at all? London zoo offer therapy for this, I believe.

ComradePlexiglass Fri 25-Apr-14 21:02:15

London zoo friendly spider programme

patothechiefexec Fri 25-Apr-14 21:03:30

I have had hypnotherapy before. It wasn't for a phobia but it did work and I'm almost certain it would cure your phobia of spiders.

I would guesstimate that you would need a maximum of three sessions at £50 to £80 per session. Why don't you have a ring around and see what other therapists say? I've seen three hypnotherapists; one was brilliant, one was quite good and the last one was rubbish. To be honest, the more woo they are the better IME. The lady who was brilliant also offered NLP, reiki, reflexology, crystal healing, holistic healing, etc.

Mintyy Fri 25-Apr-14 21:04:50

Hello, yes, I have had therapy for my phobia.

It was cognitive behavioural therapy on the NHS (I had to go on a waiting list for six months to get it) and it has helped a lot, although not entirely cured my phobia. But it has definitely made life easier for me, I am more relaxed about my phobia, and not so distracted and plagued by thoughts of it on a day to day basis.

I am so lucky to have had a sympathetic (female) GP and the resources to provide CBT on the NHS in my postcode, and I do appreciate that.

MagicHouse Fri 25-Apr-14 21:05:59

I had hypnothetapy for a fear of flying. I was quite sceptical but the difference it made was incredible.

BackOnlyBriefly Fri 25-Apr-14 21:06:47

Doctors should know better than to dismiss it as it can be torture.

I don't have any experience of hypnotherapy, but I can tell you that there are therapies which get you used to the idea of spiders etc and which blunt the fear so it's manageable. So it's certainly possible, but I'd try cheaper ones first as that is a lot of money.

One method doesn't cost anything at all, but takes a lot of willpower and works better at first if you have someone you trust to help you with it. The basic idea is that you make yourself face your fear in stages.

If you stare at a photograph of the object you fear that may be enough to set off your phobia.

If you can force yourself to keep staring at it for say 20 mins then your body runs out of the chemicals it needs (adrenaline or whatever) to keep the panic going, and therefore it fades. That leaves you out of breath and feeling crap, but still looking at it and not now having a panic attack because your body can't sustain it.

The idea is to repeat that daily until you stop expecting a panic attack from a simple photograph. It sounds unlikely, but it works amazingly well.

Then you move onto looking at the object of your fear safely sealed away from you in a glass jar or similar which is several feet away from you. That's where having someone to help you comes in.

It's hard work and unpleasant so maybe something like hypnotherapy will be better, but the important point is that there are ways out of the fear

HandMini Fri 25-Apr-14 21:11:21

I am in the same boat as OP (tho not with spiders another phobia) and I like idea of trying therapy, but am so confused by the types - CBT, NLP, hypnotherapy. I've googled and read up on them all but I still don't know what type you go for. How did anyone else choose? Or does it not work like that and therapist / GP chooses the therapy type?

Ilovefluffysheep Fri 25-Apr-14 21:11:42

I would love to do this as I have a huge phobia of snakes. Can't look at pictures or look at them on TV, and even the realistic toy ones set me off.

It is difficult as we go camping a lot, and I am permanently petrified, and did see one which set me off running down the middle of the road screaming and crying.

LeaveItItsNotWorthIt Fri 25-Apr-14 21:24:16

Can anyone recommend the therapist they used? I'm in herts/bucks area but willing to travel as its so important

stripeycandyfloss Fri 25-Apr-14 21:40:37

Why aren't you considering the London Zoo link that Comrade posted above? A third of the price and well-known.

LeaveItItsNotWorthIt Fri 25-Apr-14 21:59:31

STRIPEY I am considering it, I am considering everything right now and taking everyone's advice and experiences onboard and planning to look into all the suggestions tomorrow

IkeaFurnitureAssemblyChampions Fri 25-Apr-14 22:13:25

I did cognitive behavioural therapy (though not in the UK) and it was brilliant. It was hard work though - you have to do your 'homework'! I couldn't say what would be the best type of therapy for you but I found this online which had some good info:

FaFoutis Fri 25-Apr-14 22:24:07

I had hypnotherapy for needle phobia. In three sessions I could control the fear enough to manage. After that the therapist gave me a CD he had made and I listened to it at home. It worked really well.

It was much cheaper than £330, maybe £120 I think, not in your area though.

bodiddly Fri 25-Apr-14 22:28:24

I'm training as a clinical hypnotherapist at the moment and am happy to help you with this if you are nearby? It would be free as I am still training. I am in south Hertfordshire or alternatively my friend who is also on my course is in Buckinghamshire? Feel free to PM me!

Modan Fri 25-Apr-14 22:29:08

I cannot recommend the spider course at London zoo highly enough.
I was exactly the same as you and my fear affected my quality of life. The course was one of the best things I have done, and two friends have since done it and have also been cured.
It sounds a bit over dramatic but it really did change my life!

justtoomessy Sat 26-Apr-14 11:51:33

I had EMDR and it worked a treat I would highly recommend it. x

Daisypod Sat 26-Apr-14 13:13:18

I had Hypnotherapy many years ago and I didn't personally like it plus it didn't work.

When I was pregnant with DD1 I had a major phobia of injections, I would not let them near me to do routine blood tests etc and they almost admitted me due to high blood pressure which was purely caused by the phobia. I had 3 sessions of CBT over 3 weeks, went back to the midwife and had my bloods done and I have not had a problem with needles since!

For me it worked very well and I am so glad I did it plus it was on the NHS. Have you spoken to your gp about it?

EhricLovesTheBhrothers Sat 26-Apr-14 13:24:10

The friendly spider programme changed my life. £100 and a bargain for the impact it had on me. Last year was the first autumn since doing it and the freedom it gave me was incredible.
Don't bother with the £300 course. London zoo are incredible. 3 hours and you're cured, almost impossible to believe but true!

Unsecreteaters Sat 26-Apr-14 21:45:13

Leaveititsnotworthit - most of what people have described here would fit with desensitising yourself to the physical stuff that your body does automatically when you are close to something you fear. Avoidance leads to the fear response being amplified over time. I don't know whether you would be cured by self help alone, but I absolutely think it could be beneficial, and could be useful prep for other therapy if you needed it. I would recommend anything cbt based, like the overcoming series. Hypnotherapy does seem to be helpful for some people, but ultimately it is another way of distracting yourself and trying to prevent the body's physical fear responses kicking in, and from what you have written I think it would be most helpful for you to know that if you approach a spider, your fear response will not go on getting worse for ever causing you to explode, but would eventually slowly fade away, leaving you with the discovery that you could cope with being close to spiders. I used to hate/fear spiders, but now try to approach them more often to top up my confidence at coping with them I.e. putting my hand over a daddy long legs and throwing it out of the nearest window. I always feel a bit wobbly doing this, but am less wobbly when I do it regularly (I used to scream, run away, insist someone else got rid of it etc). I am sure you could get to this point too. Good luck.

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