Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 423787

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CBT Therapy and Hypochondria

Posted by dawnfawn on December 3, 2004, at 6:55:45

After 10 sessions I am still at a loss as to how this is supposed to accomplish anything. When I bring it up to my therapist she says I must continue to do my homework. My homework consists of writing down feelings and reactions, my moods. We then go over inappropriate thoughts. I am seeing her trying to overcome hypochondria. I am always afraid I am about to die of a heart attack, it is very unpleasant to say the least. Isn't there more to CT than this? How will this help me? Is she deficient? Am I? What am I missing? Does anyone suggest anything? Has anyone else been here? Do I need another therapist or an other approach. I thought CBT consisted of more dynamic and varied action than this.

 

Re: CBT Therapy and Hypochondria

Posted by Miss Honeychurch on December 3, 2004, at 7:42:23

In reply to CBT Therapy and Hypochondria, posted by dawnfawn on December 3, 2004, at 6:55:45

Hi dawnfawn,

I was in your exact shoes a little over a year ago. Except my fear was MS and Parkinson's. I have been in therapy with a therapist who is heavily CBT oriented, but also uses other approaches as well. Some people call this eclectic, although I recently learned that now therapists prefer to call this "integrated."

My T did not start off treating the hypochondria. He approached my hypochondria as a SYMPTOM and RESULT of my severe anxiety and depression. So, through CBT and a psychodynamic approach to my therapy, after my depression and anxiety were under control, my hypochondria vanished. For me, hypochondria was just another way of expressing anxiety. And I have a feeling that is the case for many hypochondriacs.

Are you just doing staright CBT, not delving into your past, childhood, dreams, etc? I found all of that immensely helpful in helping me understand why I am the way I am, and that helped me to progress and get better. I don't think I could have done that with straight rational thinking.

But I'm interested to know if your T is treating only the hypochondria or are you addressing the anxiety behind this condition?

 

Re: CBT Therapy and Hypochondria

Posted by dawnfawn on December 3, 2004, at 8:00:37

In reply to Re: CBT Therapy and Hypochondria, posted by Miss Honeychurch on December 3, 2004, at 7:42:23

Dear Ms. Honeychurch, We barely address me as a person. I think maybe this therapist is just too young. She is 36, my son's age. Although she is very pleasant and has been trained in Philadelphia by Beck himself I feel maybe strict CBT is not addressing the case. We try to discuss other things as well. I am very disappointed because this is my third therapist, the first one was a real looney tune. The second was not available most of the time. I tried the first for three months. The second kept breaking appointments. This is the third as I said. Do you have any idea how I can find another one? I'm in New York.

 

Re: CBT Therapy and Hypochondria dawnfawn

Posted by Miss Honeychurch on December 3, 2004, at 10:03:58

In reply to Re: CBT Therapy and Hypochondria, posted by dawnfawn on December 3, 2004, at 8:00:37

I went through two other therapists before I completely lucked into my current one, so I understand what you're going through. The first guy talked to me for 10 minutes before deciding I needed medication. The second one treated me like a drinking buddy, and didn't take the hypochondria seriously at all.

I don't know how to tell you where to find a good T in New York, I wish I could. All I know is what worked for me and that was treating my anxiety and depression firsthand. The hypochondria disappeared as I got better. There also used to be a hypochondria online community which helped me a lot, but I see that no longer exists.

What I think is very encouraging is that you RECOGNIZE you are a hypochondriac. So many do not, and refuse to believe they have other issues which are causing the hypochondria. And they live the rest of their lives like that, in complete fear and desperation. You are on the right track, we just need to find you a good therapist!

 

Re: CBT Therapy and Hypochondria

Posted by Daisym on December 3, 2004, at 10:14:10

In reply to Re: CBT Therapy and Hypochondria, posted by dawnfawn on December 3, 2004, at 8:00:37

<<<We barely address me as a person

>>>Well no wonder you don't feel like you are going to make any progress with this person! Therapy is supposed to be all about you as a person, no matter what the orientation. Obviously something very big (trust, intimacy) is missing.

There have been several threads here on how to find/choose a good therapist. If you think telling her what you told us would help, I would encourage you to do that. Otherwise, perhaps start with a list from your insurance company and make some phone inquiries.

Good Luck -- the whole thing sounds so frustrating!

 

Re: CBT Therapy and Hypochondria

Posted by Miss Honeychurch on December 3, 2004, at 10:33:10

In reply to CBT Therapy and Hypochondria, posted by dawnfawn on December 3, 2004, at 6:55:45

Dawn,

I did a small search on the "Psychology Today" website for therpists in New York City who deal with anxiety. Two popped up but both have only been in practice for several years and neither takes insurance, not sure if that is a concern for you. But it is prefereable I think to get a T who has had MANY years experience.

I do think Daisy had a good idea in you getting a list of T's from your insurance company. Is this an option? If so, start with a list, and then call. Actually interview them on the phone and ask specific questions:

1. What are their orientations? As I said before, eclectic or integrated has worked best for me

2. How long have they been in practice

3. Have they dealt with hypochondria before and what is their basic treatment plan for it?

I think you can rule out a few T's this way, as well as get a good idea of what kind of chemistry you'll have. The minute I heard ny T's voice over the phone I knew he was the match for me. Had I known then what I know now, I would have interviewd a lot more T's and made a much more informed decision. I am simply lucky I ended up with the one I did.

 

Re: CBT Therapy and Hypochondria

Posted by Emily Elizabeth on December 3, 2004, at 10:37:47

In reply to Re: CBT Therapy and Hypochondria, posted by dawnfawn on December 3, 2004, at 8:00:37

I must say that I chuckled when you said that the problem was that the therapist was too young--she's 10 years older than I am (I'm working toward my PhD in psych). Anyway, I had a few thoughts...

IMHO, CBT works very well for certain people, but is a bad fit for others. My 1st therapist was CBT and I felt like we missed so much. She said that I was better after 11 sessions. I started therapy up 1.5yrs later and i have been working w/ my current T for 3.5 yrs! Clearly there was a lot of stuff that the CBT did not get to!! So this is a long way of saying that it was a bad fit for me. I am much more of a "feeling" person than an analytical person, if you know what I mean.

CBT also works best for the people who really believe in it. If you don't think that this approach can help you, then it won't. You should find someone who works from another framework. Or maybe you can give it another month, put your all into it, and then re-evaluate if it is helpful or not.

My guess is that it isn't the T, especially if she was trained by Beck. i don't really know enough of the situation to say for sure, but it's my hunch. Hope that some of this is helpful!

EE


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