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Exposure to feared stimuli in panic disorder

Exposure may be practised as detailed above. However, in cognitive therapy exposure is used in the context of helping to modify thoughts and beliefs. For example, in panic disorder with agoraphobia a client may be asked to enter an avoided situation and remain until anxiety has reduced by 50 per cent. The therapist’s focus at the end of this task is then on the client’s thoughts before, during and after the exercise to see if initial predictions (for example, ‘I’ll never stop panicking’) were valid.

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