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  • Insect Phobia or Entomophobia

    by Suzanne Milbourne on


    Its that time of year when many of you start to get a bit concerned about insects.  Insect phobias are common but can mean a good summer is spoiled by letting these little creatures have a huge impact on us.

    Does your phobia interfere with your life?

    Have you ever been on a picnic which was spoiled because every time you sat down to eat, a wasp followed you and tried to get on your food?  And then because of the phobia you just end up not eating at all and just going off to sit indoors whilst the rest of your friends and family enjoy a lovely day outdoors.  Or perhaps its spiders for you?  Those times when everyone goes camping and you refuse politely with an excuse … but really you won’t go in case a spider gets in the tent?  Maybe it’s a little more dramatic than that for you?  I know from experience when I was wasp phobic – I would have put my life at risk to escape the darn things … I know people who have darted out in front of cars to avoid them.

    It’s not just wasps and spiders though is it?  I know people who are butterfly phobic.  Really? I hear you ask. Well yes, a member of my own family is phobic about butterflies – I must get her to agree to treatment some day!

    So what makes an insect phobia so difficult to get rid of?

    Well I know that some therapies offer gradual exposure to the thing that causes you problems.  Lets face it.. if you are phobic, why would you want to start a treatment plan with the thought of starting it off knowing at some point you will have to touch Incy Wincy or something like that. As an ex spider phobic I would never have done that.  When I had my spider phobia treated I was assured that touching a spider featured no-where in the programme.  So I always say to my phobia clients “you’re safe” and “there are no spiders or wasps here” … Im clear on that.

    Another problem is that its often not the actual insect that causes your reaction.  It may be a characteristic of the insect .. such as fast movement from the side, the fluttering of wings or the shape of the insect.  I heard about one person who didn’t like spiders because their movement was silent, and to her it should have made a noise.  When I work with your phobia, we always unpick what the fear is about and we treat that and not just a general insect phobia.

    Why do we have phobias?

    There are a few studies round which suggest that we are almost programmed to be phobic about something.  We are born with the startle reflex and we react to loud noises and a sense of being dropped or falling as new born babies … these reflexes keep us safe and alert us to danger. One theory suggests that we are born with the ability to create phobias because this would keep us safe from things which threatened us ..  and its only when this ability is triggered that we learn to be phobic.  It can be set off by an incident perhaps in early childhood, and there is now new research to suggest that we can ‘inherit’ traits and behaviours from ancestors which may mean we could almost inherit a particular fear or phobia.

    What you can do

    If you are phobic you could start to imagine your object of fear as a being with feelings, a face, a home and a family. I know these beings aren’t human, but they do on some level have all of those things.  This will start the break down the negative relationship you have built up with your object of fear.

    You can also start some breathing exercises when you are faced with your fear – Imagine you are breathing in through your heart and out through your heart… slowing down your breathing where you can.

    If you would like to talk to me about getting rid of your phobia for good you can call me on 07521489791 or email me at info@suzannemilbourne.com

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