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Panic Attacks

An upcoming article on panic attacks is planned for this page.  In the meantime the American Hypnosis Association recommends the following articles to learn more about how hypnotherapy can help with these situations. 

If you or someone you know would like more information about how hypnotherapy may help with an issue, contact us online or call the office at 469-225-9040

Study 1:  “Rational self-directed hypnotherapy: a treatment for panic attacks”

Notes: A single-subject research design was employed to assess the efficacy of rational self-directed hypnotherapy in the treatment of panic attacks. Presenting symptoms were acute fear, dizziness, constricted throat, upset stomach, loss of appetite, loss of weight, insomnia, fear of doctors, and fear of returning to work. Treatment lasted 13 weeks plus a 2-week baseline and post therapy period and a 6-month follow-up. Objective measurements (MMPI, TSCS, POMS) and self-report assessments (physiological symptoms and a subjective stress inventory) were implemented. Using hypnosis and guided imagery, the subject reviewed critical incidents identifying self-defeating components within a cognitive paradigm, revising and rehearsing these incidents.

Results: Results showed an increased sense of control, improved self-concept, elimination of pathological symptoms, and cessation of panic attacks. (Der & Lewington, 1990)

Study 2:  “Awake-Alert Hypnosis in the Treatment of Panic Disorder: A Case Study”

Notes: An eye-fixation induction was used and direct suggestions under hypnosis were first provided that the client would become immediately cognizant of any panic episodes at the earliest onset; it was emphasized in hypnosis that to the degree that she employed hypnosis at the earliest level of a panic episode, she would be successful in aborting the episode. After inducing hypnosis and eye-closure, the client was gradually conditioned to open her eyes while remaining in the hypnotic state. The client was conditioned to engender a disconnected and “woodsy” feeling all over her body. Suggestions were given that the client would feel as if an anesthetic agent had been injected yet it could be active and move about as necessary. The client was instructed that she would be able to induce awake-alert hypnosis over her entire body. The client was asked to imagine she was staring at fine glassware – and that at the slightest hint of discomfort she would immerse herself in the splendor of the glassware; the richness of the glass would offer the perfect sanctuary to feel protected—like an impenetrable fortress. The greater the discomfort, the deeper within the glass the client was told she would retreat. As a result, suggestions were given that her respirations would slow down, her stomach would unwind, etc. until she felt it was acceptable to disengage from the glass.

Results: A case study about an individual with a lifestyle-limiting panic disorder is discussed. At the start of therapy, the client was having panic attacks about three times a week – especially during outings for lunch engagements and dinner parties. Direct suggestions as well as a variant of awake-alert hypnosis were used. (Presumably, awake-alert hypnosis was encouraged to make it easier for the client to self-hypnotize with eyes open in the event she felt a panic attack starting.) After four weeks of three-times-a-week hypnosis, the intensity level of the panic attacks markedly decreased. Then, the client became able to thwart the development of episodes by applying the hypnotic procedure in the early phases of the panic process. (Iglesias & Iglesias, 2005)


Der, D. F., & Lewington, P. (1990). Rational self-directed hypnotherapy: A treatment for panic attacks. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 32(3), 160-167.

Iglesias, A., & Iglesias, A. (2005). Awake-alert hypnosis in the treatment of panic disorder: A case report. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 47(4), 249-257.