Berkshire Counselling and Psychotherapy Services

Specialising in couple, parent-child and individual relationships

Panic Attacks

How can Reading and Wokingham Counselling services help?

We all sometimes feel panicky or have have panic feelings e.g. for interviews, being late etc but what we recognise as panic feelings is ten times worse for a person suffering from panic atacks and even worse if it turns into a panic disorder.

People with panic attacks/disorder have sudden and repeated attacks of fear that last for several minutes. Sometimes symptoms may last longer. These are called panic attacks. Panic attacks are characterized by a fear of disaster or of losing control even when there is no real danger. A person may also have a strong physical reaction during a panic attack. It may feel like having a heart attack. Panic attacks can occur at any time, and many people with panic disorder worry about and dread the possibility of having another attack.

Because they have experienced the discomfort of panicky feelings and bodily sensations of losing control at least once they can start a suggestive inner language that they will get a panic attack again, thus they are unsafe about being out of their comfort zone or out of control again.

What's happening to me?
With panic attacks people will start interpreting long queues, noisy places, closed spaces like lifts or trains for example as being panicky and can take it as far as a panic attack right there and then. The human body is very suggestible and as the sweating and punding of the heart starts , the person gets very body focused and startsanalyzing every sensation, noise or tension in the body and gets more and more convinced they are going to have a panic attack. Panic attacks is not imaginary though. Once panic sets in , the person will feel every symptoms of panic attack in the body e.g.

Panic attack versus panic disorder:
A panic disorder is diagnosed when a person has had four or more panic attacks in one month or one panic attack followed by a month of fear of having another attack. Panic disorder is the next step up from panic attacks and it is usually known that it takes longer for a person to recover once he/she is diagnosed as having panic disorder. Panic disorder is often accompanied by other symptoms along with the above e.g. depression and may lead to phobias developing to situations where panic attacks have occurred.

Panic attacks are a form of fear but after the first attack it becomes more a fear of the fear situation. Compared to a phobia where the feeling of fear occurs every time one goes near the feared object sufferers of panic attacks experience intense fear of the unknown. After the first "out of the blue" attack the person lives with an internal, constant self-generated fear of another attack.

After the first panic attack the client usually experiences what we term as Panic Escalation which shows four phases:

  1. The client makes unrealistic self-statements that keep them in state of constant alarm and their body become tense due to the fight or flight response.
  2. The client begins to fear the fear itself; as their nerves and bodies become more sensitized they begin to anticipate the panic attack.
  3. The client begins to reject their own rational feelings and thoughts as their fear escalates.
  4. The client will begin to avoid any situation where they perceive they may experience feelings of panic; if they do enter an avoided situation then a panic attack occurs.

Can Counselling/Psychotherapy help me?
As your counsellor/Psychotherapist in Wokingham, Reading and Woodley I will always work with the Doctor's diagnosis in cases of panic attacks. The general population speaks about anxiety and worry often as panic attack and they are clients who will come in for anxiety and panic in specific situations e.g. train, escalators or psychosomatic symptoms of a heart attack but those who have actually suffered a panic attack and fear another one or have been diagnosed with panic disorder will require another level of counselling.

Solution focused counselling is all about focusing on what are the goals of my client and how can we work together the help the panic ridden client to get to their goals within 12-15 sessions of counselling an psychotherapy. When I am working in Wokingham, Reading and Woodley with clients who have a history of panic disorder or several panic attacks then the client will still be working with a solution focused counsellor but in addition we are looking at the Psycho-traumatology side of the Panic attacks. the brain has a reason for bringing those symptoms and fears alive regularly or for keeping the client stuck in a loophole of fear and panic. I am a counsellor/psychotherapist with a solution focused, psycho-traumatology and psycho-analysis background As such I am able to provide a deeper level of work so that panic attacks' clients can :

for more information contact your counsellor and psychotherapist Amreeta Chapman on contact page or else call her on 0786 129 3634/ 0118 926 9978 or else email her at

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