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cbt and panic attacks

1108 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  terri*
I have a question that I've asked a few times on here before but I I'm having the same conundrum again. I have textbook panic disorder. I'm scared of having panic attacks and going crazy and usually what causes my panic attacks now is derealization. Originally I guess stress caused them. Now the cycle is stress, then derealization, then panic. So, I've started cbt. And it is helping a LOT. I'm learning to quit obsessing and how to deal with my worries.
The problem is, my therapist wants the next time I have a panic attack for me to just find a chair or something, sit there and let the panic happen. Don't try to distract myself. He wants me to feel the fear and realize that nothing terrible is going to happen as a result of my panic attack. But this goes against everything I have learned on this board. Everyone here seems to say distraction is the key to dealing with derealization. Don't think about it. But if I keep distracting myself, I'm never gonna get over my fear of panic attacks. The derealization is better but I still live a life scared of the next incident. So basically I have no idea what I should do. Fight or flight? It's driving me crazy because I don't know which direction to go in. ANY responses would be greatly appreciated. Thanks everyone.
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Maybe what your therapist is proposing is similar in principle to the idea of focusing your full attention on an itch, wound, or any other form of bodily distress (as opposed to trying to ignore it) in order to drive the physical discomfort it produces away.

Only in this instance it's applied to the psyche rather than the body.

That's my best guess.

enngirl5 said:
But I'm thinking this isn't exactly that same thing as what my therapist is suggesting. He's suggesting that I feel the fear and let it pass. Not necessarily conjuer up every frightening thought I have. Just when my anxiety starts, don't run from it, just let it happen.
It certainly doesn't sound like the same thing as intentionally inducing anxiety by ruminating on every idea that fills you with dread, so what your therapist has in mind probably is different from the head trip Janine went through.

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