Warning: This is going to be a kind of rant about arachnophobia and why it bothers me.
If I had a dollar for every time someone said that I was crazy, out of my mind, or "just not right" for liking spiders, I'd be a rich woman right now. The overwhelming majority of people I come into contact with can't stand spiders, and don't mind letting me know that. Many people have told me to stay far away from them because I actually like spiders. So I have. I don't want to scare people needlessly. Neither do the spiders that I almost constantly have with me in an assortment of vials and containers.
One teacher, my biology professor, that I've had class with has threatened my grade because a spider "followed" me to class. In a petri dish. That I put it in. But that's beside the point! No matter what I tried, arachnophobia has been an enemy to me.
But why the hate? Spiders are everywhere. With the exception of just a few, spiders can't really hurt us. I just don't get why people have to be so dang arachnophobic. There are so many reasons to respect and be thankful for our eight-legged friends, that it seems strange to me when people say stuff like "I just hate spiders. They're awful." Seriously, stop the hate.
On That note, I've been reading some case reports that show that emersion therapy can help with arachnophobia. I guess that's what I've been doing, emersing people in a spider-friendly environment, hoping for the best. Some folks will listen. I've helped a lot of friends overcome their aversion to spiders just by talking about spiders near them. After a while, I show them spiders, intentionally or not quite so, and their interest is piqued. That, in my experience, is where the arachnophobia comes to a true end.
In that respect, Audacia, my Chaco Golden Knee tarantula, has been my best teammate. People love her. That's why I like to have her with me at workshops and presentations. She's the Arachnophobia-blaster part of our team. True emersion therapy with eight legs. Who knows, maybe in the future spiders will be respected more. Shoot, they deserve a little more respect than they get now, that's for sure.