Living with Spiders

2020 course dates

  • Wednesday 22 April 2020 - CANCELLED
  • Wednesday 9 September
  • Wednesday 30 September
  • Wednesday 28 October
  • Wednesday 25 November

Time: 6pm - 10:30pm

At Bristol Zoo Gardens we have responded to the demand for people wanting to get over their fear of spiders by offering a course, called 'Living with spiders'.  This is delivered jointly by Greg Nejedly (a hypnotherapist at the Hypnotherapy Bristol Practice) and a member of the Zoo Education team and takes place in the Zoo's Conservation Education Centre on Guthrie Road, opposite Clifton College. You will join a small and personal group, with up to ten participants enjoying a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.

The course lasts for four and a half hours and includes a variety of approaches to help you, including talks, relaxation, hypnotherapy and an optional meeting with our friendly spiders.

Living with Spiders course content:

  • Introduction and a talk on phobias with a group discussion on how the phobia affects you
  • Relaxation
  • A talk about the wonderful world of spiders – highlighting their anatomy, behaviour and role in nature
  • Refreshment break with a selection of hot drinks and sandwiches
  • Discussion and information about hypnosis
  • Hypnotherapy
  • An optional meeting with live, friendly spiders.
  • Presentation of certificate of attendance

Refresher session:

If you have previously attended a Living with Spiders course and would like a refresher, this session is for you! There will be the opportunity to discuss your experiences, ask any questions you might have, remind yourself of relaxation techniques, and meet some of our friendly spiders again. This shorter refresher session will revisit and reinforce your learning, and will make sure you are still comfortable and able to live with spiders. 



The Living with spiders course costs £95.

*The refresher session costs £40 and is only available to those who have already attended the main course.

If you are interested in booking a place on the 'Living with spiders' phobia treatment course, or require any further information, please call: 0117 428 5441 or email

We also run similar courses for people who have a fear of snakes. These only run in response to demand, about once a year.

The course is suitable for anyone aged 16+. If you would like to make a booking for someone aged 15 or under, please contact us directly using the email address:

Is the course effective?

Evaluation from the course shows that this combination of approaches really does result in a clear positive change in participants’ reactions and emotions towards spiders. Average anxiety levels for participants during face to face spider encounters fell by over a half after the course – see graph to the right.

Participants also described their reactions and emotions to spider encounters in three words. The results pre- and post-course can be seen in the word clouds below with feelings of ‘panic, terror and fear’ being replaced by ones of ‘calm and interested’.

word cloud spider phobia pre-course

word cloud spider phobia post-course

75% of participants graded the usefulness of the course as 8-10 out of 10 and feedback from previous participants has been extremely positive:

I want to say a huge thank you for last night. After 30 odd years of being petrified I now feel far more positive about my next inevitable encounter and dare I say I'm almost looking forward to it to see how well I deal with it! 
Katherine Burfoot, Nov 2017 

Thanks for yesterday's course. When I got home I had a spider encounter. I was able to safely take it outside. But before I did, I had a chance to actually admire it thank you once again.
Adela Miles, Sept 2017

spider phobia course - average level of anxiety graph

Now faced with a third closure, the BZS Appeal is more important than ever


Now faced with a third closure, the BZS Appeal is more important than ever