Anyone with arachnophobia knows the panic that comes at the sight of a spider and screaming for the eight-legged creature to be removed from the room.
But now one company is aiming to use technology to help sufferers overcome the phobia.
Thrive Therapeutic Software, based in Wyboston Lakes, has re-released its Arachnophobia Free app – with the use of augmented reality.
Commercial director Simon Jay said: “It feels brilliant that we get to help people overcome their fears, many who have suffered with arachnophobia for years and years.”
Now the app has a variety of life-like situations including spiders in the bath, in the living room and crawling over your hand, the aim is to slowly introduce yourself to larger and scarier spiders.
Mr Jay said: “The app is really intelligent as you can put the iPad or the phone over your hand and the spider will walk across it or across your desk.”
The idea for the app came about around eight years ago when co-founder and consultant psychiatrist Dr Russell Green, was in a hospital board meeting when he saw a spider in the corner of the room.
“Naturally, I thought it was about to kill me, so I screamed, ran out of the room and into the car park, and wouldn’t come back in the building until someone had removed it,” said Dr Green.
As a part of its remodel the app was tested by the University of Roehampton to discover whether app really does have a heeling affect.
“Typically, therapy for a phobia can end up costing hundreds, even thousands of pounds, to get to a level where you feel comfortable in front of your phobia. We’ve used similar techniques to those used if you were to pay hugely for therapy, we’ve practiced for years, and we’ve built them into fun games within the app,” added Dr Green.
To download Arachnophobia Free, you will need an internet connection and an iPhone or iPad and search for Arachnophobia Free by Thrive Therapeutic Software on the App store.