Professor Sherrilyn Roush:
"Hypochondria and Self-recalibration":
Health-anxious patients (HA) are prone to catastrophic misinterpretation of symptoms and biased substantive beliefs about illness, among other things, but there is growing evidence that dysfunctional metacognitive beliefs - beliefs about thinking - are the driving factor, with dysfunctional substantive beliefs a side-effect, and that Metacognitive Therapy (MCT) is more effective than Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
One metacognitive belief that has not been studied is exhibited in the health anxious behavior of excessively seeking medical care and rejecting doctor reassurance, namely, the belief: "I am a reliable judge of whether my symptoms are serious." I argue that this is a belief that the patient has the means to falsify and adjust, and I propose a technique whereby when healthcare-seeking impulses arise the patient uses his own track record to re-calibrate his confidence that medical attention is needed. This technique could supplement MCT, and addresses some limitations of both MCT and CBT.
Professor Fabian Freyenhagen
abstract available soon