At Bristol Zoo Gardens we have responded to the demand for people wanting to get over their fear of spiders by offering a course, called 'Living with spiders'. This is delivered jointly by Greg Nejedly (a hypnotherapist at the Hypnotherapy Bristol Practice) and a member of the Zoo Education team and takes place in the Zoo's Conservation Education Centre on Guthrie Road, opposite Clifton College. You will join a small and personal group, with up to ten participants enjoying a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.
“The group was small which was great. Both the zoo expert and hypnotherapist were very helpful. I got much more out of the experience than I anticipated.”
“What was anticipated as a very daunting experience was completely to the contrary. The course leaders ran the sessions exceptionally well and the size of the class was ideal, enabling useful participation by all present which in itself was a great benefit too. Many thanks.”
The course lasts for up to four hours and includes a variety of approaches to help you, including talks, relaxation, hypnotherapy and an optional meeting with our friendly spiders.
The Living with Spiders course costs £95.
The top up session costs £40.
We also run similar courses for people who have a fear of snakes. These only run in response to demand, about once a year.
Evaluation from the course in 2010 shows that this combination of approaches really does result in a clear positive change in participants’ reactions and emotions towards spiders. Average anxiety levels for participants during face to face spider encounters fell by over a half after the course – see graph to the right.
Participants also described their reactions and emotions to spider encounters in three words. The results pre- and post-course can be seen in the word clouds below with feelings of ‘panic, terror and fear’ being replaced by ones of ‘calm and interested’.
75% of participants graded the usefulness of the course as 8-10 out of 10 and feedback from previous participants has been extremely positive:
“This has changed my life, thank you.”
“I think I am very much better and happier to live in harmony with spiders. Will be interesting to see how it is when we move to Australia and the spiders are dangerous!”
‘’Thank you for getting me to the stage where I felt able to (albeit briefly) pick up a spider. I felt a huge sense of achievement and my husband was suitably impressed too.’’
“Thank you! It’s good, really good to feel at peace with spiders around me… and to know there is a way to tackle phobia effectively.”
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