Functional Somatic Symptoms (FSS) are somatic symptoms for which no somatic cause can be identified despite adequate diagnostic testing. FSS are common, costly, and disabling, and treatment options are limited.
Psychotherapy is one of few evidence-based treatments for FSS. Yet, this form of therapy is not widely used, since it is usually reserved for severe symptoms, requires a highly trained therapist, and is not well accepted by patients.
The current paper describes the development of the online intervention 'Grip self-help' and provides a description of the intervention itself. Grip self-help is an early intervention for mild to moderate FSS in primary care, which aims to reduce somatic symptoms and improve quality of life.
In the Grip self-help intervention, patients fill out a set of online questionnaires exploring unhelpful cognitions, emotions, behaviors, and social factors associated with the symptoms. Using this information, a personal profile is generated, identifying factors that might maintain FSS in that individual. As a next step, patients are offered online self-help exercises that are tailored to these factors. Guidance is offered by a primary care professional. The intervention will ultimately result in a personalized self-help guide, composed of texts that are extracted from the exercises patients found useful during the intervention.
Grip self-help is the first intervention for FSS combining the concepts of e-health, self-help, and personalized medicine. Guided by a primary care professional, patients are offered an easily accessible, yet highly personalized treatment. Grip self-help thus has the potential to meet the needs of the large group of patients with mild to moderate FSS.