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J Clin Psychol. 2007 Apr;63(4):409-16.

Cognitive-behavioral group treatment for panic disorder with agoraphobia.

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  • 1University of Florence. galassi@unifi.it


Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is well documented in the treatment of panic disorder with or without agoraphobia; however, little is known about the efficacy of group treatment. The purpose of this open study is to investigate the benefits of a combination of the major cognitive and behavioral techniques used in the several specific versions of CBT thus far developed, in a psychotherapeutic group approach for panic and agoraphobia. Seventy-six outpatients meeting the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, third edition, revised (DSM-III-R; American Psychiatric Association, 1987) criteria for panic disorder with or without agoraphobia were included in the study. The treatment consisted of 14 weekly 2-hr group sessions and included: (a) an educational component, (b) interoceptive exposure, (c) cognitive restructuring, (d) problem solving, and (e) in vivo exposure. Patients achieved significant treatment gains on all dimensions assessed with a high rate of panic remission and significant improvement in the associated symptoms. Furthermore, these gains were maintained at 6-months' follow-up. Our results suggest the feasibility of this combination of cognitive and behavioral techniques. The findings raise questions about the specificity and the impact of each technique.

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