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Panic Attacks


first published by davidforrest on Sat, 27/10/2012 - Based on: Panic Attacks and Postmodernity: Gestalt Therapy Between Clinical and Social Perspectives. Gianni Francesetti (Editor) 2007.

Those suffering panic attacks tend to describe their condition as something unsayable. This unsayability would seem to lie at the very heart of the panic attack experience.

The unsayable is in the very essence of the panic attack; defying the logic of the experience - in every other sense the client 'knows' (mostly) they are not going to stop breathing; not going to have a heart attack; is not going to suffocate.

The unsayable is not a failure or deficit of language, rather is itself in the origin of the panic attack.

The daily life of those who suffer panic attacks is suddenly interrupted, as if they had suffered a severe trauma. In panic attacks, as opposed to a trauma event, there is no phenomenological source for the client's anxiety; a trauma has occurred - its nature, however is unsayable.

As therapists we are dealing with the consequences of a trauma that has not been fully experienced. Our task is to construct a new ground of security. We cannot recreate the previous sense of security; it is no longer here, it is gone; it has past, forever.


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