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Katharina  Star, Ph.D.

Therapy Options for Panic Disorder

By January 31, 2013

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If you have been diagnosed with panic disorder, you may be wondering what types of treatment options are available. Psychotherapy is often sought out to help in managing panic disorder symptoms. With all the numerous forms of therapy currently available, it can be difficult to decide what is right for you.

The following provides a summary of some of the most common therapy options for panic disorder. Click on each title to get more in-depth information on each specific option, including how it can be used to treat panic disorder and where to find a practitioner.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is the most common form of therapy utilized by professionals who treat panic disorder. One of the main goals of CBT is to change negative thinking patterns in order to shift unwanted behaviors. Common CBT techniques include relaxation techniques, desensitization, and behavior modification.

Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT)

REBT is a form of CBT that focus on shifting faulty and self-defeating beliefs. According to REBT theory, it is a person's perceptions to an event, not the event itself that causes unwanted beliefs and behaviors. REBT utilizes many CBT techniques to assist a client in disputing their irrational beliefs for lasting changes in behaviors.

Panic-Focused Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (PFPP)

PFPP centers on treating panic disorder symptoms through the use of psychoanalytic concepts. The tenants of PFPP are based on the notion that unconscious conflicts and past emotional turmoil are contributing to current symptoms. PFPP utilizes techniques such as working through defense mechanisms and transference to help the client work through suppressed emotions.

Group Therapy

Group therapy is basically attending therapy with a group of other clients that are experiencing similar issues. This can be a good option for people with panic disorder who are prone to loneliness and isolation. The group therapy process involves getting to know group members, working on specific goals both in and out of sessions, and determining how to maintain success after treatment. Group therapy is often recommended as a part of a treatment plan along with individual therapy and medication.

Marriage and Family Therapy

MFT can be the best choice when your panic disorder symptoms are interfering with your closest relationships. Your partner, family, and close friends may all be impacted by your condition. This can cause unwanted stress and strain between you and your loved ones. MFT can help you work through these issues so that you can face your symptoms while maintaining healthy relationships with those who matter most.

Art Therapy

Art therapy goes beyond talk therapy to tap into emotions that can be difficult to express through words alone. It uses creative expression along with traditional counseling techniques to help clients reduce stress, gain insight, and enhance problem-solving skills. Art-making methods typically include painting, drawing, sculpture, and collage.  Artistic experience and talent are not required. Rather, art therapy utilizes the creative process for the purposes of healing and wellbeing.


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