Needle phobia

Hello, I am a neurotypical GP. I have changed some of the details below to protect a patient's identity.

I saw a 21 year old today with autism. We had a long chat together with her mum about her fear of needles. She had a life threatening condition a while back which required her to have some blood tests and a cannula put into her arm.

She found that she was unable not to look at the vein etc. when they were going to try to take blood and could not stand the thought of anyone taking her blood.

She does not currently need any blood tests, but her mum is worried what might happen if she ever does need one in the future. 

On the previous occasion when she did need the blood tests / a cannula, she had to be sectioned in order for this to be done.

She does not wish to try a local anaesthetic or counselling.

I have said I would be happy to work with her, for as long as it takes, to help her overcome her fear of needles. I have said she would never have to do anything she does not want to do, and that she can decide what we do when we have an appointment. I thought maybe I could gradually introduce the equipment at the first appointment and take it slowly from there.

Does anyone have any suggestions about how best to approach this?

Many thanks!

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