Overcoming panic attacks is a critical quest of each person who suffers from this debilitating disorder. The sudden rapid heartbeat, difficult breathing, nausea, feelings of dread, even chest pains that resemble heart attacks...who would go through these terrifying episodes if they could prevent it? But the person sensing a panic attack coming on feels totally controlled by an unseen malevolent power.
Some therapies focus on conceptually recognizing that one's fears are irrational, in a left brain kind of way. Unfortunately, tied to this approach is the value judgment that the person suffering is weak and is just not putting forth the needed effort to control their thought processes or emotions. Some very misguided therapists will even try to convince the sufferer that his or her symptoms aren't even real!
However, the most insightful psychologists of today focus on the role of the subconscious mind in perceiving a threat when one does not actually exist. Our subconscious mind is a repository of all kinds of mysterious impulses and entrenched belief systems. It is loathe to allow the rational mind or the knowing heart to enter into its labyrinth of hidden secrets.
But overcoming panic attacks requires just that. It requires the unmasking the subconscious just as in the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her friends unmasked the intimidating and scary wizard and revealed him to be a mere mortal.
Of course, not all aspects of the subconscious mind are detrimental. The subconscious remembers everything and thus helps us make needed associations that we automatically depend on throughout the day. But the very power that supports and enhances our lives can also wreck extreme and terrible havoc. When this unhealthy imbalance occurs we need to pull away the curtain and allow our senses to perceive the truth.