At RZSS, we obviously love spiders. But we recognise that not everyone does! Spiders are amazing creatures with incredible adaptations. They are an essential part of the ecosystem and those found in the UK are completely harmless and would rather avoid us humans.

We understand how a fear of spiders can really begin to impact on people’s everyday lives. Our course is designed to help you to overcome your fear of spiders in a friendly, relaxed and supportive atmosphere.

The spider phobia workshops consist of one afternoon where you will hear from our clinical hypnotherapist Morag Torrance on phobias – how they develop, what they are and how they make us react. You will have a chance to discuss your phobia to better understand its impact on you. Then our expert keepers will tell you a bit more about spiders, showing how fascinating they can be and that there is nothing to be afraid of. We will then go into a group hypnosis session with Morag to help you to remove negative subconscious associations with spiders and reinforce positive associations.

We will not show you any spiders or images of spiders during the theory part of the course.

After the group hypnosis session, you will have the choice of whether you’d like to go with our keepers to a different room to meet some friendly spiders. At this point, you can meet some spiders in closed transparent containers and you will also have the option to practice calmly catching a British house spider.

“It's been almost 2 months now since I participated in the phobia workshop. Since then, I have confidently caught and released loads of spiders :) Before the workshop, I couldn't even be in the same room as a spider without having a panic attack. I can honestly say this workshop was life changing for me and I'll be forever grateful to the zoo for running it.”

“Such a supportive environment in which to address my spider phobia and perfect combination of hypnotherapy, 'spider perspective' theory and comradery of both staff and fellow phobics. The very next day I lifted a house spider and showed it to my small son telling him how friendly it was! I hardly recognise myself and see spiders in a totally new light. Feel 'free'! . Thank you Edinburgh Zoo and all involved.”

Course feedback from a previous workshop participants

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Our team will help you overcome your fears:

Clinical hypnotherapist Morag Torrance

Morag is an experienced clinical hypnotherapist, with 7 years’ experience in a palliative care unit, working with patients with a wide range of anxieties and phobias.

RZSS Keepers

Our keepers have years of experience working with arachnids and are able to talk expertly on these fascinating creatures. Some of our keepers have actually overcome animal phobias themselves and deal every day with interactions between the public and our animals.

RZSS volunteers

Our team of volunteers will be there on the day to chat to you about your phobias and the support you in overcoming your fears. They have been trained to help specifically with these workshops.

Workshops 2022 Update

We are currently working closely with our keepers and all teams involved to reinstate our workshops again for 2022. 

For those who were booked on a postponed workshop date, or have a voucher purchased for this workshop, you will be notified as soon as we have released dates for 2022.

For further information regarding our spider phobia workshops please email us at

Support staff

If you have any questions about the workshop or if you’d like any more details before you take part in a course, please view our frequently asked questions, or alternatively ring our booking team on 0131 314 0327 or email 


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