Working with Health Anxieties

Can be taken as an individual course or as a part of:

Approved by the British Psychological Society for the purposes of Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

1 day 9:30am – 4:30pm 7 CPD hours

Course Brief



The day covers definitions of Health Anxiety, theories regarding its development and practical CBT interventions for addressing this frequently debilitating and distressing problem. The live course addresses all the essentials of this work and outlines the new developments and approaches occurring in the field in the last few years.



This CBT module gives a clear understanding and therapy model for health anxieties – whether they relate to specific diseases such as cancer or cardiovascular problems, fear of infection (eg. COVID or other viruses) or simply unexplained “lumps or bodily sensations” – despite negative medical confirmation or advice.

The Salkovskis, Warwick and Deale (2003) model of health anxieties is the starting point, giving a clear understanding of how the problem is a combination of overestimation of threat and underestimation of the ability to cope. The issue of tolerating uncertainty has become even more pronounced in the face of “invisible” health threats such as viruses and will be examined separately in detail.

Engagement & motivation issues are also common with such problems with clients either dismissing help because “Its not all in my head” or the inability of professionals to “guarantee” safety. How to address this is outlined.

The use of avoidance (behavioural or cognitive) plus the key role of safety behaviours with this problem are examined along with practical strategies for tackling them. Hypervigilance, checking and reassurance seeking are specifically examined.

Additionally, a number of interventions (behavioural experiments, Theory A and B, Pie Charts & thought records) are outlined using case material along with technique demonstrations.

In brief issues covered include:

  • Definitions and demographics
  • Salkovskis’ and Warwick’s cognitive misinterpretation model of health anxiety
  • Motivational & engagement issues with clients
  • The use of Socratic Questioning to socialise the client into reconceptualising their health problems
  • The use of behavioural experiments to explore and challenge health beliefs
  • Reducing medical reassurance seeking
  • The use of the inverted pyramid technique and pie charts to reduce sense of medical risk
  • New Developments

If you've done this course with us in the past and want to attend it again as a refresher - you might be entitled to a 50% discount. Contact the office to check the records we hold for you and whether this discount is available to you.


This Course is now available as a full recording with an online test via SDS Online Video Training (OVT)

Title: Working with Health Anxieties

Modality: CBT

CPD Hours Attached: 7 CPD Hours


Click here for the full SDS Accreditation terms for the BPS Approved Master Practitioner Diploma in CBT:

Course Tutor

Paul Grantham
Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Founder and Director of SDS Seminars

Paul Grantham, Chartered Clinical Psychologist, a Senior Associate of The Royal Society of Medicine, Accredited CBT Therapist. He is the Founder and Director of SDS Ltd and one of the most popular and inspirational tutors in the field of psychological skills training.