Spider-fear treatment trial to hit the web


Arachnophobes wanting to overcome their fear of spiders are being urged to jump on the web as part of a study.

Researchers based in Tasmania are after volunteers to receive free trial treatment online aimed at countering their eight-legged phobia.

The Feardop system, developed by three academics, delivers therapy based on exposure treatment.

“The goal of exposure therapy is to expose the individual to the feared object gradually until they experience a reduction in fear through the process of habituation,” researcher and University of Tasmania master’s student in Clinical Psychology, Liselot Goudswaard, said.

The individual response of participants will be recorded in the hope of tailoring exposure treatment to meet peoples’ needs.

“When people are confronted by the feared object or situation they can feel extremely anxious, which can have significant, unwanted effects on their everyday life,” Ms Goudswaard said.

“Unfortunately, many people with phobias do not seek treatment due to accessibility, cost and duration, which is why online treatment could be a helpful solution.”

Those interested can register on the Feardrop website.

Statistics show 5-10 per cent of the adult population experience a form of specific phobia.

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