Comparing Cognitive Therapy and Exposure Therapy in Individuals With Hypochondriasis

2014-07-23 21:09:17 | BioPortfolio


This study will compare the efficacy of cognitive therapy and exposure therapy for treating hypochondriasis.


Hypochondriasis is defined as a preoccupation with the fear of having a serious disease based on the person's misinterpretation of bodily symptoms (APA). For a long time hypochondriasis was seen as difficult to treat. Meanwhile effective psychological treatment for hypochondriasis exists. Psychotherapies using cognitive therapy (CT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy (ET) or behavioral stress management approaches are effective in reducing symptoms of hypochondriasis. However, few studies compare different types of psychotherapy. In addition, in these studies numbers of participants were small, no differences between different treatments were found, and one third of the participants showed no satisfactory change. This study will compare the efficacy of CT and ET in a larger sample of 84 participants.

Participants in this randomized controlled trial (RCT) will first undergo baseline assessment. Then they will be randomly assigned to either CT, ET or a waiting list (WL), all conditions are for the duration of 12 weeks. CT includes psychoeducation, attention training, cognitive restructuring, behavioral experiments, and relapse prevention. ET includes change of safety behavior, exposition (in sensu and in vivo), imagery rescripting and relapse prevention. Both treatment trials contain the identical number of sessions. Treatment response will be assessed at week 12 and additionally one and three years after treatment. Participants of the WL will be assigned to CT or ET after the waiting period.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Active Control, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Single Blind (Outcomes Assessor), Primary Purpose: Treatment




Psychotherapy (CT or ET)


Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy of the Wolfgang Goethe University




Goethe University

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-07-23T21:09:17-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

The use of more than one therapist at one time in individual or group psychotherapy.

Any form of psychotherapy designed to produce therapeutic change within a minimal amount of time, generally not more than 20 sessions.

Preoccupation with the fear of having, or the idea that one has, a serious disease based on the person's misinterpretation of bodily symptoms. (APA, DSM-IV)

Forms of PSYCHOTHERAPY falling within or deriving from the psychoanalytic tradition, that view individuals as reacting to unconscious forces (e.g., motivation, drive), that focus on processes of change and development, and that place a premium on self understanding and making meaning of what is unconscious.

The use of mental images produced by the imagination as a form of psychotherapy. It can be classified by the modality of its content: visual, verbal, auditory, olfactory, tactile, gustatory, or kinesthetic. Common themes derive from nature imagery (e.g., forests and mountains), water imagery (e.g., brooks and oceans), travel imagery, etc. Imagery is used in the treatment of mental disorders and in helping patients cope with other diseases. Imagery often forms a part of HYPNOSIS, of AUTOGENIC TRAINING, of RELAXATION TECHNIQUES, and of BEHAVIOR THERAPY. (From Encyclopedia of Human Behavior, vol. 4, pp29-30, 1994)

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