The Anxiety and Panic Disorder Clinic of Santa Barbara specializes in the Cognitive Behavioral Treatment of anxiety disorders. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the term used for a group of psychological treatments that are based on scientific evidence. These treatments have been proven to be effective in treating in 70% to 90% of the individuals, (depending on the specific anxiety disorder) in a large number research studies. .The basis of cognitive therapy is that thoughts influence feelings, and that our emotional responses to a situation comes from our interpretation and beliefs about that situation. For example, if you begin to experience shortness of breath and your heart racing while lying in bed, you may attribute this to having a medical condition, such as a heart attack, and begin to feel fearful and panicky . If you experience the same symptoms while running, you probably would think they are normal and not fear them. Cognitive Therapy focused on identifying these thoughts, interpretations and belief systems and beginning to change them with a variety of cognitive therapy techniques.
Behavior Therapy focuses on changing behavior through beginning to take small risks and changes in behavior, learning that the things you fear, may not be as dangerous as you believed them to be. We use a variety of exposure techniques, including exposure to one's thoughts and images, as well as gradual exposure to different feared situations. Other behavior therapy techniques include: identifying avoidance and safety behaviors and Exposure and Response Prevention, a specific form of therapy used in the treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.. We also use other modalities, including: mindfulness based stressed reduction, relaxation training, habit reversal training, breathing retraining, couples therapy and family therapy when indicated.