If you are one among the many people who faint at the sight of a spider, there is good news for you.

Researchers have found that excessive fear of spiders can be treated by a single brief therapy session.

The study group included 12 people who were afraid of spiders. Before the therapy they were scared of even looking at a picture of tarantulas.

"Before treatment, some of these participants wouldn't walk on grass for fear of spiders or would stay out of their home or dorm room for days if they thought a spider was present. But after a two or three-hour treatment, they were able to walk right up and touch or hold a tarantula. And they could still touch it after six months. They were thrilled by what they accomplished,” said lead study author Katherina Hauner, post-doctoral fellow in neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Previous studies have shown that spiders are linked to disgust and that fear of spiders is associated with parental reaction to spiders. Spiders’ disgust-evoking status was relatively strong in mothers of spider phobic girls.

In the present study, participants thought that spiders were diabolical and even capable of plotting things.

"They thought the tarantula might be capable of jumping out of the cage and on to them. Some thought the tarantula was capable of planning something evil to purposefully hurt them. I would teach them the tarantula is fragile and more interested in trying to hide herself," said Hauner.

For the study, the participants were hooked on to an fMRI scanner and were asked to look at pictures of spiders. The researchers found that regions of the brain associated with fear response – the amygdala, insula, and cingulate cortex – lit up in response to the visuals.

During the therapy, the participants were given lessons on tarantulas.

As the therapy progressed, participants were asked to get near the spiders and to touch them. Initially almost all the participants were reluctant to touch the creature, staying, on an average, at least 10 feet away from the tarantula.

After the therapy, the fMRI scans revealed reduced activity in the fear region of the brain. The participants at this point were able to touch the creature without getting panic attacks.

Researchers in the present study say that by analyzing how the individuals’ brain reacts to spider, the efficacy of the treatment can be determined.

Participants in the present study had reduced fear of spiders 6 months post therapy session.

"This suggests that observations of brain activity immediately after therapy may be a useful future tool in predicting an individual's long-term outcome," Hauner said.