1st Edition

The CBT Workbook for Illness Anxiety

By Blaise Worden, Johanna Kaplan Copyright 2025
    324 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    324 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) workbook includes a detailed, step-by-step account of how to do scientifically supported treatment with adults experiencing illness anxiety.

    Written by two practitioners with years of specialized training and expertise in CBT for anxiety, this book provides a comprehensive overview of illness anxiety disorder, and an exposure-based framework to target fear and avoidance. Detailed exercises and homework are included throughout, as well as charts, diagrams, and a relapse prevention plan.  This workbook aims to give illness anxiety sufferers the skills needed to work through the therapeutic journey in decreasing anxiety and beginning recovery.

    This book is essential for those with illness or health related anxiety looking to do self-help or to use with therapists in sessions, along with practicing clinicians who need specialized guidance.

    Chapter 1: Welcome to the Workbook

    Common Psychological Disorders Associated with Anxiety about Health

    Finding Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment for Illness-Related Anxiety

    Why You May Want to Consider Medication

    Getting a Baseline Assessment of Your Illness Anxiety

    Motivation: Why Should I take the Risk?

    Chapter 2: What Are My Problematic Health-Related Beliefs?

    What Are Your Illness Fears?

    When You are Anxious, You are Not Thinking Clearly

    Calculating the Estimated Probability of Your Scariest Scenario

    Chapter 3: What are My Problematic Health-Related Behaviors?

    The Health Behaviors Checklist

    Gaining Awareness by Monitoring Anxious Responses

    The Vicious Cycle of Anxious Behaviors

    Chapter 4: How Your Anxious Thinking Perpetuates Health Anxiety

    Common Health Myths

    Doing a Cost-Benefit Analysis of How Much Your Worry is Helping You

    Chapter 5: Designing your Exposure Hierarchy

    Approaching Health Fears

    Tips for Refining Your Exposure Hierarchy

    Starting Exposures

    Chapter 6: Common Cognitive Distortions

    Exposure Check-in and Troubleshooting

    Common Cognitive Distortions that Contribute to Anxiety

    Practice Talking Back to Your Anxious Thoughts

    Chapter 7: Interoceptive Exposures

    Check-In on Treatment Homework

    Interoceptive Exposures

    Core List of Interoceptive Exposures

    Some Additional Interoceptive Exposure Examples

    Chapter 8: Imaginal Exposures

    Check-In on Treatment Homework Progress

    Imaginal Exposures

    Advanced Topic: Is Illness/Health Anxiety Simply a Fear of Death?

    Religion, Spirituality, and Health Anxiety

    Chapter 9: Giving Healthcare an Appropriate Role in Your life

    Check-In on Treatment Homework

    Moving Forward with Appropriate Health Behaviors

    My Medical Decision Chart

    Chapter 10: Living a Life in which Risk and Safety are Balanced

    Check-In on Treatment Homework and Progress

    Living A Valued Life and Accepting Anxiety

    Chapter 11: Moving Forward and Embracing a Full Life

    Your Love-Hate Relationship with Anxiety

    If I'm Not Living Around My Health Anxiety, What Will I Spend My Time On?

    Relapse Prevention

    Reaching Out to a Professional

    A Final (But Very Important) Note


    Blaise Worden is a clinical psychologist and researcher at the Institute of Living, Anxiety Disorders Center, in Hartford, CT. 

    Johanna Kaplan is a clinical psychologist and director of the Washington Anxiety Center of Capitol Hill (WACCH), in Washington, DC.

    “The CBT Workbook for Illness Anxiety is an incredibly comprehensive resource that articulately explains everything you have ever wondered about illness anxiety or how to overcome it.  Worden and Kaplan were able to share their deep knowledge of health anxiety and treatment in a manner that is equally informative yet digestible, and through a voice that is both supportive and kind.  Unquestionably, this workbook will serve as a guiding light for so many who have struggled with illness anxiety by revealing the path back to a life that is no longer dictated by worries about health.  This is a go-to book that I cannot wait to recommend to my clients and colleagues alike.”

    Alison R. Menati, director, Center for OCD & Anxiety-Related Disorders, Saint Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute

    “Drs. Kaplan and Worden have demonstrated exceptional proficiency in crafting a comprehensible and highly motivational text that adeptly elucidates the deleterious impacts of health anxiety and offers effective strategies for its mitigation. The inclusion of meticulously designed worksheets enhances the practical applicability of the content, while the periodic reinforcement of the underlying motivational principles adds a discernible level of efficacy to the overall therapeutic approach.”             

    Mary E “Beth” Salcedo, medical director, Ross Center, Washington D.C.; past president of Anxiety and Depression Association of America.