Living with the “S-Word”

Coping with your spider fear to manage real life situations

Do you have a spider phobia? Do you cower from eight-legged visitors to your home? Then why not join us in learning how to cope with your fear and discover techniques that enable you to manage real life situations.

At Colchester Zoo, we love spiders, but we understand that not everyone does. These animals have amazing adaptations and are an essential part of the ecosystem. And whilst some of us find them scary, spiders native to the UK are harmless to humans. Their survival depends on avoiding humans and yet millions of perfectly rational people are petrified of spiders.

We recognise that a fear of spiders can have a massive impact on people’s everyday lives, so whether you are someone who shrieks and runs, or who becomes frozen in panic, our session is designed to help you work towards managing your fear of spiders in a friendly, relaxed and supportive atmosphere.

Please note: We are realistic about the goals of our session. Our aim within our three hours together is not to cure your phobia but we are here to provide you with tools to help you deal with encounters in a rational way and hopefully begin to appreciate there is a lot more to spiders than you thought.


Session Practicalities:

Next Session: spring 2023 – contact us at education@colchesterzoo.org to register your interest and be kept informed with the exact date is announced.

Cost: £65

Cost includes: day entry to Colchester Zoo, light refreshments, a certificate of participation, and resource pack to take away in addition to the 3-hour session providing information, education, and coping methods to manage your fear of spiders.

There is a limit of 10 participants per session, so book early to secure your place.

Age: minimum age of 18+


Session Outline:

Our session begins with some discussion about phobias. Then, through a range of interactive tasks, we will explore the origins of phobias and how they can become established, find out which phobias are most common and comprehensively clarify just what it is about these animals that participants don’t like. We will progress through trialling a variety of techniques designed to help you cope with unwanted arachnid encounters, before concluding with an opportunity to try out some commercially available spider-catching tools (with fake critters!) designed to assist in the removal these animals from our homes, in a supportive and comfortable environment

Zoo experts will provide the facts on these animals, addressing common fears and misconceptions, proving there really is nothing to be afraid of. Participants have the chance to ask questions throughout the session in a friendly and reassuring setting. Great care is taken to ensure that the programme is as stress-free as possible and – believe it or not – you might actually have fun!

The session takes place in the relaxed surroundings of Colchester Zoo.
No animals will be used in this session.
Photographs and illustrations are only used in the latter part of the session and clear warning will be given before any appearance.


Session Schedule:

12:45 Arrival, refreshments and “housekeeping”
1:00pm Start:
 Phobias – history, culture, most
 How the fear affects YOU – what impact does your phobia
 Slow exposure – using visual stimuli (No spider pictures!) and get creative with spidery shapes
 Coping mechanisms and Relaxation techniques –  what you can do if you start to feel the fear!
3:00pm Put your learning into practice: spider catching – using commercially available tools to calmly capture fake bugs.
3:30pm Refreshments – a chance to ask any further questions and share in the knowledge that you now have some tools to help you face your fear.
4:00pm Finish

Please note: We are realistic about the goals of our session. Our aim within our three hours together is not to cure your phobia but we are here to provide you with tools to help you deal with encounters in a rational way and hopefully begin to appreciate there is a lot more to spiders than you thought.

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