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Cyber-Chondria Can Be Helped With Psychotherapy

Cyber-Chondria Can Be Helped With Psychotherapy

In my experience as a psychotherapist, I am seeing more and more people attending therapy with acute health anxiety. I have always anecdotally linked this with the internet and the ability to research every symptom that a client experiences. It would appear that this anecdotal evidence has now been proven.

Researchers at Imperial and Kings College have been looking into this and have coined the term cyber-chondria to describe people who obsessively look at the internet to attempt to make a better diagnosis than their GP had. Whilst one might consider this a minor inconvenience, it is actually costing the NHS approximately £420 million per year.

These same researchers have concluded that psychotherapy would be an effective intervention in these cases. Unfortunately, there seems to be a bias towards nurse delivered CBT. This is an area that can be assisted by other forms of psychotherapy, however, as per the usual line with the NHS there is a desire to deliver inexpensive CBT rather than more depth based psychotherapy delivered by qualified psychotherapists.

I am not trying to be negative about nurses or CBT per se, but I think there is definitely a debate that needs to be had which will measure the efficacy of psychotherapy provision delivered by practitioners who use it as an adjunct to their primary practice and those who have been trained as psychotherapists as their primary clinical specialty.

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