Case Study, Wasp Phobia

Clive* is 44 and had been suffering from a fear of wasps since he was an infant. More recently, it had become more intense and was impinging on his enjoyment of being outside at all in the summer months.


Interestingly, Clive remembered clearly an incident that occurred when he was five years old. He had been playing in the garden with a neighbour’s daughter of similar age. Suddenly he felt a pain in his knee. He had knelt on a wasp and it had stung him.


Typical of a child, after some reassurance and affection from the adults present, Clive went back to happily playing with his friend, the incident now forgotten. Or so it seemed…


Clive had only forgotten the pain and fright from the incident in his conscious mind. However, it was stored in his unconscious mind so it could be used to remind Clive of the trauma whenever he encountered wasps in future. He unconsciously went a step further- Any flying insect became, at first sight, a cause for concern. It needed to be checked for threat. As Clive matured, the phobia that was now well-established became a nuisance whenever Clive was outside to the extent that he avoided gardens and similar outdoor spaces. His fear impinged on his social life and was embarrassing. Hence Clive making contact with me for help.


From our client consultation I was aware that Clive suffers from an existing mental health condition and was on effective medication for this.  This was something that I had to be mindful of when considering which therapy may be more suitable for Clive’s phobia.


*Names and other identifiable details have been changed to preserve confidentiality. Such details can be made available to any regulatory body seeking to verify authenticity.