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Digital Recording

The Health Anxiety Treatment Guide: ACT and CBT-Based Interventions for Illness Anxiety and Somatic Symptom Disorders

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Taylor M. Ham, LMFT, CCATP
6 Hours 19 Minutes
Audio and Video
Sep 12, 2022
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Digital Recording
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A nervous awareness of potential illness will continue to lurk on every doorknob and in every crowded room for years to come.

But for many clients, extreme anxieties about their health lead to hours checking their symptoms online, undergoing dozens of unnecessary doctor visits, and doing anything to evade perceived health risks.

And if you can’t help these clients learn to stop fearing death, they’ll continue to avoid life.

But these anxieties can be tricky to recognize and tough to treat. Without the right approach you could fail to spot the problem, lose your client’s trust when you suggest their fears are exaggerated, or even inadvertently reinforce their anxieties.

That’s why health anxiety treatment expert and author Taylor Ham, LMFT created this online training, so you can get the up-to-date skills and clinical tools you need to confidently diagnose and treat these clients and free them from the fears that control their lives.

Packed with case studies, worksheets and practice tips, Taylor will provide you a blueprint for identifying health anxieties that can hide beneath relationship distress, OCD and other presenting issues. PLUS she’ll give you step-by-step instructions on how to use CBT, ACT, and mindfulness-based interventions to make real therapeutic progress and:

  • Maintain clients’ trust when confronting them about exaggerated symptoms
  • End reassurance seeking and checking behaviours that can prolong their anxieties
  • Use exercises to help clients tolerate uncertainty and accept somatic symptoms
  • Reduce clients’ unhealthy rumination and intrusive thoughts
  • And much more!

Don’t wait to get the tools you need to break the unhealthy cycle trapping so many of today’s clients.

Purchase now!


Planning Committee Disclosure - No relevant relationships

All members of the PESI, Inc. planning committee have provided disclosures of financial relationships with ineligible organizations and any relevant non-financial relationships prior to planning content for this activity. None of the committee members had relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies or other potentially biasing relationships to disclose to learners.  For speaker disclosures, please see the faculty biography.


This online program is worth 6.5 hours CPD.



Taylor M. Ham, LMFT, CCATP's Profile

Taylor M. Ham, LMFT, CCATP Related seminars and products

Taylor M. Ham, LMFT, CCATP, is a Certified Clinical Anxiety Treatment Professional and author of the book The Health Anxiety Workbook: Practical Exercises to Overcome Your Health Worries (Rockridge Press, 2021).

Ms. Ham specializes in treating a range of anxiety and mood issues, as well as stress and relational issues. In her practice, she uses evidence-based cognitive-behavioral and mindfulness-based techniques to help clients leave their health-related anxieties behind so they can live the lives they want. Ms. Ham earned her MS degree in Marriage and Family Counseling from Virginia Tech University and has been designated a Clinical Fellow by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT).

Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Taylor Ham maintains a private practice and has an employment relationship with Octave Behavioral Health. She receives royalties as a published author. Taylor Ham receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Taylor Ham has no relevant non-financial relationships.


  1. Assess for Somatic Symptom Disorder and Illness Anxiety Disorder in clients.
  2. Differentiate healthy anxieties from potential co-morbid disorders.
  3. Develop and provide client-friendly psychoeducation about health anxiety and its related symptoms.
  4. Build collaborative treatment plans tailored to each client’s unique experience of health anxiety.
  5. Utilize evidence-based CBT strategies to break the problematic cycle of health anxiety through changing thoughts and behaviours.
  6. Apply ACT techniques and mindfulness-based strategies to enhance clients’ uncertainty tolerance and acceptance of somatic symptoms.


Assessing Clients for Health Anxiety
  • Common traits of sufferers and the impact of COVID-19
  • DSM-5™ Criteria: Somatic Symptom Disorder and Illness Anxiety Disorder
  • Diagnosis and differentiation between these two disorders
  • Instruments and interviewing techniques
  • Common co-morbid disorders
  • Health anxiety vs OCD
Physical Symptoms, Stress and the Brain-Body Connection
  • Why we no longer use “hypochondriac”
  • Techniques for getting client buy-in
  • Physical symptoms of stress and anxiety
  • The brain-body connection
Breaking the Cycle: Psychoeducation and Early Session Interventions
  • Psychoeducation: 3 activities to explain the cycle to clients
  • Techniques to reduce reassurance seeking behaviours
  • Strategies to help control self-checking and research rabbit holes
  • Case study: John, 50 years old
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Proven Techniques to Challenge the Health Worries Clients Can’t Shake
  • Practical tips for goal setting
  • Thought experiments to expose misbeliefs about health and illness
  • Hypothesis testing and gathering evidence for worried thoughts
  • Challenging core beliefs about health
  • Using exposure techniques in health anxiety treatment
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): Build Uncertainty Tolerance and Somatic Symptom Acceptance
  • The problem with experiential avoidance
  • Clinical strategies to enhance uncertainty tolerance
  • ACT exercises to help clients better accept somatic symptoms
  • Mindfulness techniques to interrupt rumination and automatic reactions
  • Breathwork for “in the moment” stress relief
Clinical Considerations
  • How to assess progress
  • Managing issues of transference
  • Limitations of the research and potential risks

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Physicians
  • Psychologists
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Other Mental Health Professionals


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