Maia came to SOS Children's Village Tbilisi a couple of years ago. She found her new home and loving family in the house of SOS mother Tamar and quickly became close to all children in the house. She became especially fond of her SOS mom whose advice she gladly took in any situation.
As Maia's adaptation to the new family proceeded smoothly, one thing remain unchanged - her panic fear of spiders. 'I read a lot about arachnophobia after Maia came to me,' says Tamar. 'I learned how to behave and how not to react until she's over her panic attack.'
Arachnophobia is considered by many as the most common of phobias. People with arachnophobia feel uncomfortable in places which they believe are inhabited by spiders; however they also might feel humiliated if panic attacks caused by spiders occur in front of people they know.
Located at the edge of Georgia's capital, the children's village has many insects many of which are spiders. Usually the children are not afraid and enjoy collecting crickets or observing the working habits of ants, but not little Maia. 'I didn't want my girl to be bound indoors and even there she'd come across spiders,' says Tamar.'
Girls love sitting in the grass fields of the village (Photo: Katerina Ilievska)
Maia first noticed a spider in the bathroom. 'She screamed so loud that I jumped and ran to her in an instant,' remembers Tamar. 'She just stood motionless staring at the corner of the window where I teeny tiny spider was crawling. I took her out of the bathroom, went back in and cleaned the entire bathroom again.'
Not thinking about them
Tamar tried to learn ways of treating this specific phobia. One way, she read, was stopping the automatic thoughts associated with spiders and instead thinking more rational thoughts, known as cognitive-behavioural therapy. 'I was telling her that spiders are important part of the nature's food chain and that they mind their own business and don't even think about us humans,' explains Tamar.
Bit by bit, Maia was learning not to notice the eight-legged neighbours. She still hasn't overcome her phobia, but with the help of her mom Maia is learning not to let her phobia control her life and slowly face her fear.
Last brave encounter
Playing outdoors is among the favourite activities of children from SOS Children's Village Tbilisi (Photo: Katerina Ilievska)
Recently, she had a close encounter with an itty bitty spider again in the bathroom. Tamar remembers: 'Maia went to the bathroom alone and after a while hollered at me to come. I asked why and she said: 'there's a little spider here and I think that he's thinking about me.'
For privacy reasons, the names were changed.