Marzgirl: "The CBT as I am understanding it sounds uncomfortable to me. Does this require me to expose myself to these creatures more in order to show myself that I can handle myself around them? If so that just scares the daylights out of me!"
We can see that it is possible for stimuli (particular creatures) to
1 affect different people different ways
2 affect you in distinct ways (eg lizards okay/some things with six legs not okay)
A good question might be (as you have started to ask) what difference is four legs to six legs (keeping it simple) - and the answer to that is something in the associations - meanings - these different things represent... which is the bit that has been learnt...
that is one approach to changing this... (as well as accepting the actual hazard attached to different species and associated normal precautions)
But that does sound rather 'wooly' and 'psycho analytical' (although it isn't - but i can appreciate that it sounds hard)
the other you also speak of indirectly which is called 'exposure therapy' (i think) but obviously means 'normalising' the person's reaction by gradually increasing their limits of exposure to the source problem. This would be part of treatment for trauma for example and to a degree treating agoraphobia (also a phobic disorder).
So a taxi driver traumatised by an accident but needing and wanting to go on having a relationship with cars would perhaps be asked to acclimmatise to a photo of a taxi .. then after a suitable time and support sititing in a taxi etc ... or think a plane crash survivor and so on. Or someone with a military background and traumatised and unable to go in crowds would be shown a picture of the Mall .... etc
But this idea "just scares the daylights out of me!" and so maybe it is better to approach this from the cognitive- behavioural side rather than straight behavioural model.
Feel I am being really 'jargonistic' here and a bit nerdy ...
But it is interesting to ask *what* fear these creatures (the hardcore ones) evoke in you, and *what that fear means about you*, wherein lies the emotional distress (ie the anxiety/fear/*vulnerability*)
I know i haven't explained this very well and also i am not so hot on phobias, never having had any except possibly standing-water.
I am a bit phobic to peter andre thinking about it.
have a think for a time and then perhaps we draw a conclusion from our words that you can carry forwards
Chris a bit car-crashed today