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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Tackling Health Anxiety: A CBT Handbook

Helen Tyrer

Price: £18.00

College members' price: £16.20

Published: Jul 2013

Format: Paperback

Number of pages: 150

ISBN: 9781908020901

Tackling Health Anxiety: A CBT Handbook

This straightforward book explains how to deliver cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) for health anxiety in ordinary practice. Health anxiety is very common but it is often undetected, especially in medical settings where people are constantly looking for evidence of physical disease. The problem is that many people with this condition are more concerned with further tests and investigations to exclude physical illness than with addressing their own worries over health. The introduction of psychological treatment has to be handled sensitively if it is going to be successful. This book shows how it can be done.


  • A new version of CBT specifically for health anxiety.
  • How to recognise health anxiety.
  • How to engage patients and introduce therapy.
  • How to separate the problems of anxiety from those of physical illness.

All clinicians – from nurses working in general practice, to consultant physicians – will recognise the scenarios Dr Tyrer uses to illustrate her practical approach to alleviating the distress felt by so many patients. All clinicians will value the time they can save by tackling their patients’ health anxiety.

This will be useful for liaison psychiatrists and, to some extent, for all healthcare professionals – especially general practitioners and nurses in primary care.

Dr Helen Tyrer – Senior Clinical Research Fellow, Imperial College, London.

ContentsList of tables, boxes, figures and case examples

Part I
1.    Introduction
2.    The cognitive theory of health anxiety
3.    Style of therapy
4.    The initial assessment
5.    Specific techniques
6.    Homework: setting and evaluation
7.    Setting goals
8.    Relapse prevention
9.    Troubleshooting

Part II
10.  Cardiology
11.  Respiratory medicine
12.  Gastroenterology
13.  Endocrinology
14.  Neurology
15.  Genito-urinary medicine
16.  Pain management
17.  Conclusions