What is the theory behind this Behavioural Experiment Worksheet Health Anxiety?
Behavioural Experiment is a technique used in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to test one’s new or old beliefs and assumptions about the self, others and the world in general. It allows individuals to explore the likelihood of their irrational worries actually coming true. With time the intensity associated with that worry decreases when they are unable to find evidence to support it.
Health anxiety is characterised by excessive worry about falling seriously ill leading to repeated checking of illness signs and rejecting contrary reassurances. These are the safety behaviours which can be targeted in behavioural experiments.
How will the worksheet help?
The worksheet will provide a behaviour experiment log that clients with Health Anxiety can use to test the outcome of avoiding their safety behaviours such as repeatedly seeking information about their concerned illness. It will require them to test the likelihood of their irrational beliefs related to their health actually coming true.
How to use the worksheet?
Instruct the client to write the belief in the safety behaviour they intend to target in this experiment and how strongly they believe in it. Then tell them to predict what will happen if they avoid that safety behaviour for some time. Then tell them to come up with specifics of how they intend to carry out this experiment for e.g by avoiding looking up information related to xyz medical illness..Then compare the outcome with the prediction and share what they have learned.
Behavioural Experiment Worksheet Health Anxiety
Write down the belief and the related safety behaviour that you want to target in this experiment.
On a scale of 1 – 10, how much do you believe in it?
|Predict what will happen |
What do you expect to happen if you actively avoid your safety behaviour?
Mention all the specifics of how you intend to test and observe that this belief is actually true or not? How will you stop yourself from engaging in your safety behaviours? What strategies do you have in mind?
What actually happened? How was your behaviour different or similar from your prediction? What facts have you collected regarding the situation?
On a scale of 1 – 10, how much do you believe in your target belief now?
What have you learned from this behaviour experiment?
Taylor, S., & Asmundson, G. J. (2004). Treating health anxiety: A cognitive-behavioral approach.Guilford Press
You can download this worksheet here.