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Understanding My Panic

The Cognitive Behavioral Model Of Panic identifies catastrophic misinterpretation of body sensations as a criticial maintenance factor which serves to exacerbate and prolong panic. This information handout presents an accessible panic maintenance cycle.

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Understanding My Panic illustrates how cognitive behavior therapists think about panic attacks and panic disorder. The model shows how panic attacks start with a trigger, and then describes the steps that happen to keep a panic attack going. These include feeling body sensations and (mis)interpreting what they really mean. Models like this instil hope because they show domains (thoughts, feelings, behavior, body sensations) which can be targeted to treat panic using CBT. Understanding My Panic is from the book Psychology Tools For Overcoming Panic.


  • Clark D. M. (1986). A cognitive approach to panic. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 24:461–470.
  • Clark, D. A. (1999). Anxiety disorders: Why they persist and how to treat them. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 37, S5-S27
  • Wells, A. (1997). Cognitive Therapy of Anxiety Disorders. Chichester: Wiley.
  • Whalley, M. G. (2017). Psychology Tools For Overcoming Panic. Psychology Tools