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  I'm being treated for my spider phobia
Updated 08 August 2002, 15.59
A giant tarantula
Spider movie Eight Legged Freaks is out this week, but here's a report from one person who might not be seeing it.

Charlotte's having treatment for her spider phobia. She tells CBBC Newsround Online what she has to go through.

Spiders terrify me.

I've had a phobia of them since I was about six years old.

When I see them, I scream, cry, shake and my legs give way and I just run off.

I know it's really crazy to other people, but I even leave the house if there's one at home.

'Spider season'

Fear of spiders is one of the most common phobias
There have been loads of times I've stayed at friends' or relatives' houses because I refuse to stay in my house if there's one on the loose! If it runs off before someone can catch it, I won't go into that room for days.

That can get a bit tricky - especially if there's one in the toilet!

Once, when there were loads of massive spiders in my house during "spider season" (roughly September and October), I didn't go home for a month! I know it's ridiculous but I can't help it.


People can have all sorts of phobias, even of buttons
So my doctor eventually decided I needed help. My family thought so too!

I got referred to a special doctor, called a psychologist, who treats people with phobias. People can have phobias of all sorts of things like dogs and birds, or weirder things like blood, buttons and even Wellington boots!

My treatment's called "exposure therapy" which basically means I am being gradually exposed to spiders. Ugh!

We started off looking at pictures of spiders. My therapist is really nice, and she helped me deal with my fear and horrible feelings.

When I was totally happy looking at pictures, we moved onto watching videos of spiders, including massive ones in the Amazon Jungle which are as big as dinner plates!

Touching their legs

People with severe phobias sometimes need therapy
I have to do loads of "homework" too. Every week I have tasks to practice, and I have to keep a "spider diary". The funniest task (so my family thought) was when they had to hide a giant plastic spider around the house so I kept coming across it. It was everywhere - under my bed, in the loo, even in a packet of biscuits!

After the videos, we moved onto looking at real spiders. I was dreading it.

We started off looking at really small ones in jam jars, and eventually I had to let them out onto a big tray. I build up to touching their legs gently with my finger. And I've let a small spider (about the size of a penny) run over my hand.

It works

It's the hardest thing I've ever done but it's really working!

I can now get all small and medium spiders on my own without any help. I get them in a glass and throw them outdoors.

I'm still working up to dealing with really huge house spiders, which I'm still really scared of. But I know the therapy works so I reckon I'll crack it soon.

Eight Legged Freaks - here I come. (Arghhhh!)

More InfoBORDER=0
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