Utilization of learned skills in cognitive behavioural therapy for panic disorder

Asala Halaj, Nitzan Yekutiel, Asher Y. Strauss, Jonathan D. Huppert*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Research has long investigated the cognitive processes in the treatment of depression, and more recently in panic disorder (PD). Meanwhile, other studies have examined patients' cognitive therapy skills in depression to gain insight into the link between acquiring such skills and treatment outcome.Aims: Given that no scale exists to examine in-session patient use of panic-related cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) skills, the aim of this study was to develop a new measure for assessing patients' cognitive and behavioural skills in CBT for PD.Method: This study included 20 PD patients who received 12 weekly individual therapy sessions. The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Panic Skills (CBTPS) rating system was developed. Three independent raters coded tapes of therapy sessions at the beginning and end of treatment.Results: The coefficient alphas and inter-rater reliability were high for the cognitive and behavioural subscales. Improvement in the patients' CBTPS scores on both subscales indicated overall symptom improvement, above improvement in anxiety sensitivity.Conclusion: To our knowledge, this is the first study examining the impact of patient acquisition of CBT PD skills on treatment outcome. A new measure was developed based on the observations and was deemed reliable and valid. The measure facilitates the examination of the mechanisms of change in treatment for PD. An in-depth examination of the CBTPS may refine our understanding of the impact of each skill on PD treatment outcome. Further research relating to acquiring CBT skills could shed light on the mechanisms of change in treatment.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)645-658
Number of pages14
JournalBehavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies 2019.


  • CBT skills
  • cognitive behaviour therapy
  • mechanisms of change
  • panic disorder
  • therapy assessment
  • treatment outcome


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