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Cognitive behaviour therapy for a specific phobia of vomiting

  • David Veale (a1)

This article summarizes the current knowledge and treatment for a specific phobia of vomiting (SPOV). It is relatively uncommon compared to other specific phobias but may have been misdiagnosed in catchment-area surveys. The differential diagnosis of SPOV includes obsessive–compulsive disorder, hypochondriacal disorder and anorexia nervosa. I discuss the following: a model that is linked to past aversive experiences of vomiting; conducting a clinical assessment; making a formulation; psycho-education, engagement and therapy. The strategies employed depend on the formulation but are likely to include: exposure in vivo to cues of vomiting, exposure in imagination and role-plays of vomiting, imagery re-scripting, behavioural experiments; and dropping of safety-seeking behaviours.

Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence: Dr D. Veale, Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma, 99 Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AZ, UK (email:
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