A treatment protocol, called experiential cognitive therapy (ExCT), was developed. It integrated traditional cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) with virtual reality exposure for the treatment of panic disorder with agoraphobia (PDA). The objective of this study was to test the efficacy of short-term (four sessions) ExCT compared with a traditional 12-session panic control program (PCP) for the treatment of PDA. Forty patients diagnosed as having PDA by the diagnostic criteria of DSM-IV were randomly assigned to ExCT and PCP groups of 20 patients each. The treatment effects were measured with self-report questionnaires, including the BDI, STAI, ASI, PBQ, ACQ, and BSQ. The authors also assessed high end-state functioning (HES), including the success rate of stopping or reducing medication at post-treatment and 6-month follow-up. In all ratings, both ExCT and PCP groups showed significant improvement post-treatment compared with pre-treatment scores. There were no significant differences between the two treatment groups in HES and medication discontinuation at post-treatment, but there was a significant difference in medication discontinuation at 6-month follow-up. These results suggested that although short-term effectiveness of ExCT might be comparable to the effectiveness of PCP, long-term effectiveness of ExCT might be relatively inferior to the effectiveness of PCP.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Psychology