The arachnophobie is the name given to the fear of spiders. This is one of the most common phobias. The fear must be inexplicable to the patient himself (this is not the fear of a bite) and intense for the diagnosis of phobia is made.

Like all animal phobia, it tends to occur relatively early, around age 7. No research has yet provided a definitive answer as to its origin, but the trend of family transmission was clearly demonstrated, this does not exclude the possibility of other factors in some patients.

The number of studies of the effectiveness of psychotherapy specifically concerning arachnophobie is limited but different forms of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy seem effective.

The treatment of a specific phobia as arachnophobie in a cognitive-behavioral therapy is mainly based on different techniques of exposure to anxiety stimulus for an habituation and extinction of anxiety.

The oldest of these therapies, systematic desensitization, was developed by Wolpe. It is based on gradual exposure to feared stimuli become more intense. The therapist establishes with the patient a list of situations and then disabling the class depending on the level of anxiety associated. The patient then learns relaxation techniques to use it later. During the sessions, the therapist asks the patient to imagine a harrowing scene then relax, progressing to the most distressing scenes and a halt or go back if anxiety becomes too great.

Other variants are based on exposure in vivo (eg, watching a spider in a jar and then touching the jar, opening the jar, playing with the spider with a pencil, etc..) Or in an environment of virtual reality.

There are several controlled studies of the effectiveness of these therapies, which just a few more specifically the arachnophobie.

In France, treatment of specific phobias cognitive-behavioral enjoys a "presumption of efficiency" according to the INSERM report, which has been challenged as to its methodology.(SONY)

Read also Agoraphobia