College runs courses to overcome fears and phobias

Tracey Palmer who is running courses at the College of West Anglia to cure people's fears and phobias.
Tracey Palmer who is running courses at the College of West Anglia to cure people's fears and phobias.

TV’S I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here has served to highlight just how people can suffer from fears and phobias.

But now a college is to run courses to help members of the public overcome them.

They are to be held at the Cambridge Campus of the College of West Anglia at Milton where experienced staff in its small animals section are confident they can work with people to overcome their fears.

Wimblington resident Tracey Palmer is manager of the Companion Animal Centre on the outskirts of Cambridge and she said some people have fears of frogs, alpacas, birds and even rabbits and goats.

“It is quite bizarre really what people can be frightened of,” said Tracey. “Some people are fine with things until they move; some people can be upset by the sound it makes.”

The students have to be able to handle all sorts of things as they look to careers in zoos, pet shops, veterinary work etc and now for a small half hourly charge the college plans to make its teachings available to others.

The idea to run courses came about when Tracey took some creepy crawlies to a school and was approached by a member of staff due to travel to the United States and worrying because she had a fear of snakes. In a couple of sessions she was guided how to overcome them.

Tracey (38) who has been with the college for 14 years and was herself a student when it was based at Wisbech, begins by chatting about the fear problem.

Depending on the person and the source of the fear, this might develop into looking at pictures, being in the same room, getting close, examining a shed skin perhaps, before any consideration is made to holding or touching something.

Tracey is confident the one-to-one sessions really do work.

The college’s extensive facilities have tarantulas, spiders, rats, cockroaches and a range of small animals, so most of the living things required will be on site. Some of the prominent things are even given names by the staff, with a tarantula called Rachael and a snake called Dorothy. There are hissing cockroaches from Madagascar and tarantulas from South America, which can live for about 40/50 years, and snakes too.

Half hourly sessions to cure fears and phobias can be arranged on weekdays, evenings and weekends. Contact Tracey by calling the centre on 01223-860701.