Along Came A Spider

20170914_211808‘And how long have you been seeing your spider?’

‘It’s been with me ever since I was a little girl’

The client sitting opposite me was a forty five year old woman who answered every question in a quiet, little sing song voice without once making eye contact. I was seeing her in my role as a hypnotherapist as a favour to a friend who knew her mother. Knowing my interest in creature phobias they thought I might be able to help her

‘When was the last time you saw your spider?’

‘On the tube on the way here’

‘Did anyone else on the tube see it as well?’

‘Oh no they never do in circumstances like that’

I made notes as she answered my questions

‘When you see your spider is it in colour or black and white?’

‘It’s always in colour. Black with red bands around its legs when it’s happy, yellow bands when it’s not’

‘Is it often unhappy?’

‘Not often’

I carried in with the usual questions I asked my clients about how they experience their problems

‘When you see it is it near or far away?’

‘Normally I just see it out of the corner of my eye. I just see it as it hides behind something, is leaving the room or disappearing in a crowd’

She smiled and looked at me for the first time

‘The only time I ever see it fully is when it’s not happy’

‘And when you see it fully how big is your spider?’

‘Oh I’ve seen it cover a dinner plate once so it’s very big’

‘And would you like to get rid of your spider?’

‘No I would just like to stop it doing what it does when it’s not happy’

‘And what does it do when it’s not happy?’

She looked down at the floor and fell silent. After a long pause she began to answer

‘It makes people have accidents’

‘What sort of accidents does it make them have?’

‘Sometimes small ones, sometimes big ones’

She took a sip of water before she answered more fully

‘Once she made a girl who was bullying me at school freak out during our exams in the hall. She failed her A levels and never got into the university she wanted. Sometimes it makes people drop things or spill things. Sometimes it’s much more serious’

I paused waiting for her to give me more details

‘When my husband told me he was leaving me, I saw it climb into the back of his car as he drove off. He crashed on the motorway not long afterwards’

‘And what happened to him?’

‘Oh he died’

‘And you think your spider caused this accident?’

‘I don’t think, I know’

The tone in her voice had changed. She sounded more adult. More annoyed

‘You don’t believe my spider’s real do you?’

She held my gaze as she sat upright in the chair

‘You’re just like all the others aren’t you? All the other who think I’m just making it all up. All the others who think I’m mad’

I put down my pad and pen, took a drink of my water and paused my questioning

‘I’m sure your spider’s real for you and you believe that it’s making the things happen that you’ve described’

She sat back in a relaxed fashion smiling at me

‘Oh dear. Now you’ve made it unhappy and you know what happens when it’s unhappy don’t you?’

The certainty in the way she spoke to me caused me to sit bolt upright in my chair  

‘It’s in the room with us now isn’t it?’

She nodded slowly and pointed

I felt one of its legs brush against my neck as it walked onto my shoulder