Prescribable on the NHS ‘Books for Prescription’ scheme, this book – though calling it a book is generous; at 31-pages this is more a booklet – is part of the Overcoming self-help book series. Written by psychologists, it offers a quick-fire primer in to health anxiety and uses CBT principles and techniques to guide people through what and why they may be feeling. It is divided in to two parts; part 1 is explains health anxiety, and part 2 delves into coping with it.
I have always held a skeptical view with such books: big, wordy tomes only suited to well-motivated patients. Well, this booklet has proven me wrong. It is A4 sized. The formatting makes for a very readable text. The writing style is simple; explanations and exercises do not come across as being hard, and yet, my mind did not stray whilst reading through them. The exercises are engaging because they are so simple and do-able.
It is still not a casual read but I can foresee use of this booklet with a broader range of patient. Pitched correctly, this may be all that is needed in the short- to medium-term; something one can have at home when acutely needed. For others, this may lead to more CBT. The book defuses CBT for the average person and as such, I feel, will improve enthusiasm and reduce DNAs of onward referral.
Dr Kashif Bhatti is a GP in Leeds