Applied Relaxation for Panic Disorder

Status: Modest Research Support


Applied relaxation involves first identifying situations in which panic is likely, as well as early panic cues; next, individuals are taught progressive muscle relaxation, and learn to become relaxed more and more quickly over the course of treatment. Finally, patients are taught to relax in the presence of panic cues, and then in real-world situations in which panic is likely. Thus, applied relaxation teaches patients to quickly relax in increasingly stressful situations.

Key References (in reverse chronological order)

Ost, L.G. & Westling, B.E. (1995). Applied relaxation vs cognitive behavior therapy in the treatment of panic disorder. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 33, 145-158.

Ost, L.G. (1988). Applied relaxation vs progressive relaxation in the treatment of panic disorder. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 26, 13-22.

Clinical Resources

Bernstein, D.A., Borkovec, T.D., & Hazlett-Stevens, H. (2000). New directions in progressive muscle relaxation: A guidebook for helping professionals. Westbury, CT: Praeger Publishers.

Ost, L.G. (1987). Applied relaxation: Description of a coping technique and review of controlled studies. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 25, 397-409.

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