AACBT National Tour – Sydney: Salkovskis – Health anxiety

This event has passed.
20 Apr 2020
09:00 am
- 05:00 pm
The Grace Hotel
The Grace Hotel, York Street, Sydney NSW, Australia
  • Paul Salkovskis
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With the level of concern escalating daily due to COVID-19, we believe we must follow the Federal Government’s advice to cancel all non-essential gatherings. As a result, at this point in time, AACBT is suspending all events until the end of April 2020. This includes our up-coming national tour from Professor Paul Salkovskis.  Full refunds will be provided for all ticket holders for all cancelled AACBT events.

Worried well… or worried sick?

CBT for health anxiety, (and its extension to persistent physical symptoms in general medical settings)

Presenter: Professor Paul Salkovskis

Come and hear from a world leader in CBT about how the cognitive theory of health anxiety can be applied not only to the treatment of illness anxiety disorder, but also to somatic symptom disorder, and psychological problems related to physical health difficulties.

Cognitive behavioural approaches to health anxiety have been shown to be effective in RCTs in people where the main presenting problem is anxiety focused on health, and in those seeking medical help in hospital found to have high levels of health anxiety. There is now good evidence that treatment is both clinically and cost effective, and can be relatively easily learned by health professionals. The underpinnings and main components of the treatment will be described and illustrated. This workshop aims to train participants in cognitive-behavioural treatment as applied to health anxiety and related somatic problems and how this might be extended to presentations in medical settings.

The cognitive behavioural theory which forms the basis of such treatment suggests that for Health anxiety and Persistent Physical Symptoms (“Somatic Symptom Disorder”) patients’ problems lie not only in the physical symptoms and other bodily variations they experience but rather in the way they interpret and react to these symptoms.  The theory also specifies those reactions which are likely to be involved in the maintenance of health worries, and which therefore need to be modified in the course of treatment. The cognitive theory of health anxiety therefore closely resembles cognitive theories of other disorders such as panic in several respects.  However, a crucial difference lies in the time course of the interpretations which are characteristic of health anxiety and hypochondriasis.  This and other differences mean that the emphasis in Cognitive Behavioural treatment has to be somewhat distinct from cognitive-behavioural treatments for anxiety disorders such as panic.  In particular, the importance of helping the patient develop alternative, non-catastrophic interpretations of the problems they are experiencing is emphasised.  However, such an approach also needs to avoid the pitfalls involved in the provision of “reassurance”.

In the workshop, participants will be taught about and how to apply the cognitive behavioural theory to helping patients to identify and deal with factors which maintain health concerns, and prevent the person from engaging in normal activities.

Once participants have been familiarised with cognitive-behavioural theory, the workshop will highlight clinical strategies for:

  • identifying patients suitable for cognitive-behavioural treatment
  • assessment of anxiety and health related triggers, the way these are interpreted and the factors involved in the maintenance of the problem
  • use and interpretation of assessment instruments
  • engagement in psychological treatment
  • formulation and reaching a shared understanding
  • techniques for helping re-attribution
  • the use of behavioural experiments
  • helping the patient stop seeking reassurance and unnecessary medical investigations
  • dealing the anxiety in the therapist and the patient’s physicians
  • relapse prevention

There are also clear indications that CBT could be effective in Medically Unexplained Symptoms (MUS) and in Long Term Physical Health problems (LTC) associated with relatively severe psychological distress. The complex link between health anxiety and problems in general medical settings (both primary and secondary care) will also be discussed, and evidence for generalisation to both MUS and LTC evaluated. The adaptations required for the application of the health anxiety treatment in this context will then be outlined, particularly focusing on the fact that anxiety and perception of threat alone will not always account for the maintenance of psychological distress in such problems.

Key Learning Objectives

  1. To understand the CBT transdiagnostic/specific model in health anxiety and MUS/LTC
  2. To be able to conduct an assessment in a way which allows a formulation and shared understanding to be achieved
  3. To be able to choose an apply appropriate interventions based on that shared understanding

Assumed Background Knowledge and Experience of Attendees

Intermediate (through to Advanced): Working knowledge of topic area; e.g., treated a few cases

Implications / Applications of Learning for Clinical Practice

To be able to understand and treat health anxiety both in general and in the context of general medical settings.

Duration & Format / Training Modalities

This workshop has 7 hours CPD, and includes morning & afternoon teas, and lunch.

The workshop will include video demonstration, didactic content, experiential, role-play, case exemplars, etc.

References – readings

  1. Salkovskis, P. M., Warwick, H., & Deale, A. C. (2003). Cognitive-behavioral treatment for severe and persistent health anxiety (hypochondriasis). Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention3(3), 353. [.pdf link]
  2. Salkovskis, P. M., Gregory, J. D., Sedgwick-Taylor, A., White, J., Opher, S., & Ólafsdóttir, S. (2016). Extending Cognitive-Behavioural Theory and Therapy to Medically Unexplained Symptoms and Long-Term Physical Conditions: A Hybrid Transdiagnostic/Problem Specific Approach. Behaviour Change33(4), 172-192. [Open access link.]

Registration at 8:30am for a 9:00am start.

Non-members can join now and gain all of the other advantages of AACBT Membership!

Early bird rates for FULL MEMBERS expires on 21 March 2020.

There are no early bird rates for student members or non-members, but there are group discounts are available.  Please contact info@aacbt.org.au for more information.