Therapy Modality : Behavioral Therapy Behavioral Therapy Type : Systematic DesensitizationDisorder : Arachnophobia Hello, my name is Dr. Robinson and I am going to be your main therapist for the next few weeks until you have fully overcame your fear of spiders. Scientifically speaking, your disorder is called arachnophobia. the word “arachnophobia” is derived from the Greek word ‘arachne’, which means spiders. Let’s start our first session with you explaining what your expectations are your this therapy.
Ok. Well, Let Me start off with stating my name and a little personal information. My name is Da’quan brown. I am 26 years old and I am from Brooklyn, New York. I suffer from a severe fear of spiders, which I now know is called arachnophobia. I have had this fear since I was about 5 years old, when a spider crawled up my nose, while I was sleep. I have never been able to forget that dreadful day.
The fear of spiders has been a detriment to me for majority of my life and I am so excited to see what these sessions can do for me. I just hope that I can get over my fear of spiders in time, so I will be able to make it on that trip to Australia with my best friend. The last time She went I was not able to go because of my phobia, but this time I plan to be ready with the help of this therapy. Intriguing.
I am 99.9% positive that I can definitely help you overcome your fear of spiders. What is the highest extent to which your fear persists?Since the age of 5, I have hated those 8 legged crawlers. As a kid, I would try to cover my body with a blanket or hiding in the closet, hoping that one wouldn’t find me. I can’t even look at a photo of one especially not up close. Just writing the word spider freaks me out. I once went a month without writing any work at school because my brother showed me a picture of a spider in a book and I wet my pants as well. I am scared to talk to my friends about It completely.
I’m afraid they will laugh at me. I have always told them that spiders were against my religion, so I wouldn’t have to talk about why I didn’t like them.I understand where you are coming from and you shouldn’t feel scared or alone about talking to your family and friends about it because I am sure they will support you. Arachnophobia is very common, estimated in Western societies, as many as 55 percent of women and 18 percent of men feel some level of arachnophobia. In the UK, it’s the number one phobia.
I have came to a conclusion on what method of therapy we should use. the best course of action would be a technique called systematic desensitization, which is a type of behavioral therapy based on the idea of classical conditioning. Simply, we are going to take away your fear response to spiders and place in a relaxation response.
That seems fantastic. I am fully open to this technique. So, let’s get started. What is the first step in the process?To make sure you full understand this technique, I will give you a little synopsis. systematic desensitization is a three step process. It is very involved and you are going to have to “face your fears” as banal as that might sound. the most important thing is that at any time you feel discomfort or fear, you tell me and we can discontinue the fear encouraging event.
So first, we are going to form a list of fears that are related to spiders and ranked from least fearful to most fearful or 1 through 10. I will “hold” you hand through the entire process. but, you will have to be the one that decides on the type and kind of fear motivating event that takes place. Let me just get something to write with.
I understand. Well, that’s easy enough. From least to most fearful is in order;Thinking about a spiderLook at a photo of a spiderLook at a real spider in a closed boxHold the box with the spider in itLetting a spider crawl on my tableLetting a spider crawl on my shoeLetting a spider crawl on my pantsLetting a spider crawl on my hand Letting a spider crawl on my sleeveLetting a spider crawl on my bare armI see. Ok, so let’s with first looking at pictures of spiders. I know this may seem a little scary, but if you follow my instructions everything will be fine. Then, you will be ready to go on that trip to Australia with your best friend. Does that sound like a good plan? Yes. I suppose so.
One question though, How will this technique of hierarchy cause me to not be afraid of spiders, if I still correlate spiders with fear?Excellent question. The answer to that is quite simple. This is where step two of desensitization process comes into play. The step you will learn a few relaxation methods Because if you learn to relax properly and go through the steps in the spider hierarchy, you will be able to correlate relaxation with spiders. Thus eliminating the fear of arachnids. So, let’s continue with practicing some breathing, muscle detensioning AND meditation strategies. Ok. Very good.
How do you feel?I feel very calm and at peace with myself. I feel as if I can do anything. So, lets begin the hierarchy.Ok. Let’s begin. Shall We? For the third and final step in systematic desensitization process, you will move along the list you made of fearful events until every objective is completed successfully.
You will use the relaxation methods as you go through the list, so you won’t be afraid. We will start from number one and once you feel you can do that without being scared, we will continue until the end. Now, start to think about a spider, while at the same time control your breathing and loosen your muscles.Ok (Patient completes the action successfully). I am ready to proceed. When I Think about the spider, I am no longer afraid and the thought no longer makes me feel dismay or uncomfortable.Excellent.
Let’s move on to the more imagery portion of the therapy. Let’s look at a photo of a real spider on the internet. Now, lets look at a real spider but inside of a close tank. Remember, if you feel uncomfortable at moment just let me know.
Now, lets hold the tank with the spider in it.Alright (hands over the tank) I seem okay but this spider is relatively close. I will try to stay as calm as possible with these techniques. Can we skip the spider on the desk level, I feel as if I am beyond that nowDon’t worry. If you just keep practicing the relaxation techniques you should be perfectly fine. So, Let’s put a spider on your shoe now. (Patient puts spider on his shoe).
Great. Now let’s go put a spider on your pant leg. just keep controlling your breathing and stay calm. Now, this is my assistant, Reginald, he will take a different spider out of the cage and place him on your pant leg. Feel free to close your eyes until you feel comfortable to look directly at it. (Reginald places spider on the pant leg and da’quan feels no fear). Very good, you are almost done with this hierarchy list.
DO you wish to skip to placing the spider on your bare arm?Ok. Let’s do this. I am starting to get a little anxious, but I think I might be able to calm down.
(Reginald rolls up his sleeves and places the spider on). Oh my gosh. It is crawling up.Continue to relax. Everything is fine. You will be ok. (the spider continues to crawl up his arm) remain calm and use the strategies we discussed earlier.
Every little thing is going to be alright.Everything is alright and I feel fine (Heavy breathing slowing down) Wow. I am relaxed even though the spider is crawling up my arm! Thank you so much Dr. Robinson. Systematic desensitization is very effective (at least for me). Now I can make it on my trip to Australia with my best friend. This therapy happened faster than I expected.
Thanks again. Bye.You are very welcome, da’quan. Come by anytime you have a behavioral problem. We can fix it together.
Or if you know someone with a problem, send them by and I will do my best. See you around.