Cognitive Therapy for Panic Disorder

Prof. David Clark

Tuesday, 5 October 2021


Panic disorder is a common anxiety disorder that can be highly disabling and lead patients to have multiple unnecessary physical investigations which are a major burden on health resources and

unhelpful to patients. In the early days of behaviour therapy, people with repeated panic attacks were considered particularly difficult to treat. 

David Clark’s cognitive model revolutionised the fieldby providing a coherent psychological account of the maintenance of the disorder which was then used to develop a specialised form of cognitive therapy that has shown good evidence for differential effectiveness. In particular, randomised controlled trials have shown that it is superior to

an alternative, equally credible, behavioural treatment and to medication.

The event will be equivalent to 5.1/4hrs of CPD.


The workshop will outline the Clark (1986) model and illustrate the key treatment procedures that
were developed from the model. These include assessing the idiosyncratic meaning of feared bodily
sensations, developing an individual model of the way in which fearful beliefs and safety behaviours
interact to maintain the problem, key discussion techniques and behavioural experiments for all the
common panic-related thoughts, and relevant imagery-based interventions. The techniques will be
illustrated with multiple case examples, exercises and video clips. Participants will be provided with
a detailed therapist manual for their future use.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this event attendees will:
1. Understand the model of panic disorder including
2. Understand key treatment procedures
3. Develop an individual cognitive model for their clients of the way in which problems
are maintained
4. Be able to identify appropriate therapeutic strategies and be familiar with how to
apply them

Training Modalities

The presenter will use a range of teaching methods: case illustrations, video clips, experiential
exercises and opportunities to ask questions.

Key References

Clark, D.M. (1986) A cognitive approach to panic. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 24, 461-470.
Clark, D.M. (1996). Panic disorder: From theory to therapy. In P.M. Salkovskis (Ed.),
Frontiers in Cognitive Therapy. New York, NY: Guildford.
Clark, D.M. & Salkovskis, P.M. (2009). Panic Disorder: Manual for cognitive therapy for panic
disorder. Available from the OxCADAT Resources website: (You may need to register as a clinician to gain access, it is free)

About the presenter

Prof. David M Clark is the Professor of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford. He is
well-known for his pioneering work on the understanding and psychological treatment of anxiety
disorders: especially panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, health anxiety and PTSD. Each of the
psychological treatments that he has developed figure prominently in UK (NICE) and international
clinical guidelines. Recently, he has also focused on how to make effective psychological treatments
much more widely available through internet delivery and through major changes in healthcare
systems. He is a leading architect of the English Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT)
programme. He is also a Fellow of the British Academy, the UK Academies of Medical Sciences and
Social Sciences, the British Association of Behavioural Psychotherapies (BABCP), the Association for
Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) and the Association for Psychological Science (APS).

Who should attend

Clinicians interested in learning psychological therapy for panic disorder.