The role of symptom induction in the treatment of panic and anxiety: Identifiable domains, conditional properties, and treatment targets


Although the importance of affectively charged material in the treatment of panic and anxiety has been emphasized and implicitly viewed as essential for effective therapeutic change, a general framework for organizing, understanding, implementing, and evaluating symptom induction techniques has yet to be offered. This article offers a framework for organizing symptom induction techniques, categorizing treatment targets, and, accordingly, assessing therapeutic change in the treatment of panic and anxiety. Symptom induction techniques are examined in three exposure domains: physiological, cognitive, and situational/circumstantial; treatment targets fall into five categories: (a) poor symptom tolerance and hypersensitivity and hypervigilance, (b) avoidance of internal and external triggers, (c) the emergence of specific catastrophic thoughts and related misinterpretations, (d) diminished adaptive coping skills, and (e) a reduction in general self- efficacy. Additionally, a distinction is proposed between conditional and unconditional properties of symptom induction, with an emphasis on the potential deleterious role conditional properties play during the course of treatment.

Publication Title

Behavior Modification