Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in the treatment of panic disorder: Some considerations from the research on basic processes

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APA Citation: 

Carrascoso, F. J., & Valdivia-Salas, S. (2009). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in the treatment of panic disorder: Some considerations from the research on basic processes. International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy, 9, 299-315.

Publication Topic: 
ACT: Conceptual
Publication Type: 
Article
Language: 
English
Language: 
EspaƱol
Keyword(s): 
panic disorder, ACT, experiential avoidance, relational frame theory, relational responding, private events
Abstract: 

The prevalence of panic disorder with and without agoraphobia as well as its personal and economic impact is encouraging researchers and clinicians to improve the available psychological treatments. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for panic disorder has yielded large size effects, still the literature on treatment outcomes (efficacy, effectiveness, and efficiency) points out some inconclusive results which deserve further consideration. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is proving very useful in the treatment of a broad range of psychological problems, anxiety disorders included, although the empirical evidence for the latest is limited yet. In the present paper, we present a review of the basic research sustaining the use of ACT for anxiety disorders in general and panic disorder in particular. First, panic disorder is conceptualized as an instance of experiential avoidance. Then, the basic processes of change in ACT are analyzed, emphasizing those which have been studied in relation to anxiogenic or panicogenic events. Subsequently, the application of ACT to anxiety and panic disorder is described. Finally, some key future research directions are offered to the light of the basic research available.

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