How exactly do you deal with irrational reactions to insects and spiders?

Okay, so for sev­eral years, I’ve been do­ing a fairly good job of ex­cis­ing out most of my ir­ra­tional be­liefs and fears.

The one that re­mains, how­ever, is my fear of bugs and spi­ders. I’ll SCREAM if I see one, dead or al­ive. And if there’s one in my food, then I’m go­ing to throw the en­tire plate out.

Is it com­mon for LWers to have ir­ra­tional re­ac­tions to bugs and spi­ders?

I know that there is “de­sen­si­ti­za­tion ther­apy”, as high­lighted by a Scien­tific Amer­i­can Fron­tiers epi­sode a decade ago (where grad­ual ex­po­sure to the stim­u­lus—a spi­der) - can de­sen­si­tize a per­son with arachno­pho­bia over time. But this can re­ally only hap­pen in con­trol­led set­tings. In un­con­trol­led set­tings, such in­ter­ac­tion can give you night­mares.