Living with Spiders

2019 course dates

  • Monday 21st January 2019 (top up)
  • Thursday 7th February 2019
  • Thursday 11th April 2019


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 course lasts for four and a half hours and includes a variety of approaches to help you, including talks, relaxation, hypnotherapy and an optional meeting with our friendly spiders.

Living with Spiders course content:

  • Introduction and a talk on phobias with a group discussion on how the phobia affects you
  • Relaxation
  • A talk about the wonderful world of spiders – highlighting their anatomy, behaviour and role in nature
  • Refreshment break with a selection of hot drinks and sandwiches
  • Discussion and information about hypnosis
  • Hypnotherapy
  • An optional meeting with live, friendly spiders.
  • Presentation of certificate of attendance


The Living with spiders course costs £95.

The top up session costs £40.

If you are interested in booking a place on the 'Living with spiders' phobia treatment course, or require any further information, please call: 0117 428 5441 or email

We also run similar courses for people who have a fear of snakes. These only run in response to demand, about once a year.

Is the course effective?

Evaluation from the course 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’.

word cloud spider phobia pre-course

word cloud spider phobia post-course

75% of participants graded the usefulness of the course as 8-10 out of 10 and feedback from previous participants has been extremely positive:

I want to say a huge thank you for last night. After 30 odd years of being petrified I now feel far more positive about my next inevitable encounter and dare I say I'm almost looking forward to it to see how well I deal with it! 
Katherine Burfoot, Nov 2017 

Thanks for yesterday's course. When I got home I had a spider encounter. I was able to safely take it outside. But before I did, I had a chance to actually admire it thank you once again.
Adela Miles, Sept 2017

spider phobia course - average level of anxiety graph

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