How I Achieved My Cure of Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia: 
An Open Letter to Those on the Healing Path
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Practice #2: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy ("CBT")

In addition to meditation, a second practice was essential for my cure.  This practice was a truly extraordinary version of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).  The practice that I followed is beautifully described in Mastery of Your Anxiety and Panic: Workbook by Dr. David Barlow and Dr. Michelle Craske. 

Mastery of Your Anxiety and Panic: Workbook is designed to be used with a CBT therapist, but it can also be used for self-help.  It was developed by Dr. David Barlow and Dr. Michelle Craske – two of the world's leading experts in the field – and is used by many therapists around the world.

You can order from the publisher, Oxford University Press, through their website:  http://www.us.oup.com/us/companion.websites/0195311353/?view=usa or by calling 1-800-445-9714. 

If you order from Amazon.com, be sure that you get the Workbook (not the Therapist Guide) and that you get the latest edition, published in 2006.

(For more about the approach used in the Workbook, see: "Slowing Down and Unmasking the Panic Monster: The MAP Program".)

I was very fortunate to find Dr. Ron Brooks of Santa Barbara, a therapist with many years of experience in the cognitive-behavioral approach.  Dr. Brooks created an individualized program for me, incorporating everything you will find in the Workbook.

I am so grateful for Dr. Brooks’ depth and range of knowledge, his caring and patience, his encouragement and enthusiasm.  

Dr. David Barlow maintains an outstanding list of therapists trained in CBT for panic disorder and agoraphobia.  For a referral in your area, you can contact Dr. Barlow's office at (617) 353-9610 or email his nurse administrator, Ms. Bonnie Brown, at bonnieb@bu.edu.  

There is not nearly enough space here to explain CBT and the Workbook, but I can say a few words about my own experience.  I learned that my own panic response, which had seemed like one overwhelming 'thing', was actually made up of over a dozen elements:  catastrophic thoughts and physical sensations associated with those thoughts.

Through regular practice, I gradually learned to identify and then master each element of my panic response, one at a time.  What had once seemed to be a completely overwhelming experience gradually lessened, until now, all that remains is an occasional echo – reminding me of how grateful I am for my cure.

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