Millions of Americans struggle with phobias. People’s fears can include flying in airplanes or becoming a landing pad for a flying cockroach, things they “go to ridiculous lengths to avoid,” said Michael Reeder, a mental health counselor at Hygeia Counseling Services in Baltimore.

“I think I’ve always had . . . a huge fear of bugs, any kind of bugs,” said Milani, who would get no more specific than to say she is in her 20s and who started a blog, Cicadaphobia, to connect with others who share her feelings. “They just creep me out. I find them disgusting, anything with many legs. I don’t eat crab; I don’t eat shrimp. The cicadas are so huge, and there are so many of them.”…

Sufferers know intellectually they’re in no danger, but the creepiness causes an overwhelming adrenaline rush they can’t control.

There’s really only one way to treat it, Wilson and Winston said. Put the bug right in the patient’s face, make them confront their fear.

Wilson’s approach is direct. He wants a patient to look at videos of bugs, then touch one and hold it, owning the feeling of six legs crawling on their skin.