Psychologist for Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder Treatment in New York

NYC Psychologist, Westchester Psychotherapist

Panic disorder treatment, and counseling for panic attacks, by New York licensed psychologist and psychotherapist, Robert M. Fraum, Ph.D. Dr. Fraum offers practical, solution oriented therapy and therapy for panic disorders in New York City and White Plains, NY. This approach to treatment of anxiety and panic disorder symptoms utilizes cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, and stress management counseling techniques.


This web page is designed to provide information and introduce you to the psychology of panic disorders and panic attacks, as well as the treatment approaches I utilize as an analyst and coach in therapy. As a New York licensed clinical psychologist, counselor and psychotherapist, I provide psychotherapy and counseling for panic attacks and panic disorder from two convenient locations. My New York City office is located in Midtown Manhattan and my White Plains, NY office is in lower Westchester county, easily reached from Greenwich, Connecticut (CT).

The Symptoms and Psychology of Panic Disorder

A panic disorder is an anxiety disorder which is characterized by recurring panic attacks. Symptoms include racing heart, dizziness, trembling, sweating, trouble breathing, and feelings of terror or confusion.

Panic attacks can happen without warning. With repeated attacks, the fear of dying may be supplanted by fear of losing control or going insane.

Panic Disorder often result in the development of phobias. For example, people tend to avoid places where they have experienced a panic attack. In Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia, people progressively restrict their routine travel, e.g., to particular routes, modes of transportation, or time of day.

A panic disorder can:

  • Weaken self esteem, self confidence and resistance to stress.
  • Lead to dependency upon people or restrictive routines.
  • Damage the personal, family and professional relationships.
  • Result in medical problems, depression and depressive disorder, alcohol or drug abuse.

The fight or flight instinct prepares us to fight, run or freeze when we are actually in danger. During a panic attack, the brain is deceived, and we instinctively react as if we were actually under attack, e.g., racing heart, sweating, heavy breathing, severe fear, etc. Phobic symptoms may also develop based upon a conditioned stimulus-response connection with the traumatizing event. These symptoms can be extremely unnerving, especially when there is no clear or present danger.

A Panic Attack can develop in response to actual trauma and/or psychological trauma or upset.

In the case of actual trauma, the immediate causes of an initial panic attack are external stressors such as rape, disaster, and physical threats. A number of internal factors can increase the likelihood of such a panic attack. These include a history of trauma, feelings of vulnerability or helplessness or a state of stress just prior to the incident.

A Panic attack can also arise from nonlife threatening events and psychological stressors, emotional conflicts or issues. For example, if a job loss or a personal rejection is perceived as a truly life or death issue, the threat may evoke a catastrophic emotional reaction which triggers a panic attack.

After an initial panic attack, additional factors can determine whether an ongoing Panic Disorder will develop. These include:

  • Suppressing or denying feelings about the panic attack.
  • Receiving appropriate information and support from family and friends.
  • Getting timely professional intervention.

As an NYC Clinical Psychologist and Panic Disorder Counselor, I have notice a significant increase in Panic Disorders in my New York City and Westchester psychotherapy locations, most of it actually not related to the 911 disaster. The people who are most susceptible to panic disorder, per se, have been highly functioning but highly stressed people.

From the viewpoint of psychodynamic psychology, we may describe these particular individuals, usually men, as quite good at gutting their way through tough situations while keeping their natural emotionality in tight check. They tend to suppress all but the most severe anxiety. They are characteristically reluctant to appear weak to others. They are also capable of concealing their concerns, upsets, and even their symptoms from their friends and family until the pressure becomes unbearable.

Interpersonal and humanistic psychology points to problems with basic interpersonal connection. Too little relatedness produces profound anxiety and insecurity. Too much dependency on others can get in the way of recovery.

Psychotherapy and Counseling for Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder

Treatment of panic disorder is most effective when it quickly focuses on getting symptoms under control before they accelerate. This restores the person's sense of emotional stability and prevents disabling Agoraphobia. Where Panic Disorder is more entrenched, a multimodal, solutions focused approach is best. Psychotherapy and counseling can address the immediate symptoms as well as the habits or issues which sustain well established symptoms.

There are a variety of treatment approaches which a psychologist, counselor, or psychotherapist has available. My approach utilizes a combination of clinical methodologies to respond to a client's specific needs and to accelerate recovery. These include Stress Management Counseling, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, and Interpersonal Psychotherapy.

Stress Management Counseling for Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder

Stress management counseling uses practical strategies to prevent, mitigate and control anxiety. For example, clients learn about the psychology of Panic Disorder to gain perspective, empowerment, and useful information relevant to their specific condition.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder

Relaxation techniques are taught to help reduce anxiety and tension. These include deep breathing exercises, guided imagery and systematic relaxation training. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for panic attack helps a person who is experiencing a panic attack to think more clearly. CBT also helps by changing the negative self-talk that often triggers a panic attack.

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy for Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder

At times, we may need to deal with underlying issues to effectively treat Panic Disorder. Psychodynamic Psychotherapy is used to address the internal emotional conflicts and stressors that can drive Panic Disorders.

Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder

Interpersonal psychotherapy addresses the kinds of roles, relationships and communication patterns which can set the stage for Panic Disorders and get in the way of recovery.

Find Help and Get Therapy for Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder in New York City and White Plains

I offer counseling for panic attacks and panic disorder. I find panic attack and panic disorder treatment is most effective when it is begun in a timely manner and utilizes a practical, multimodal approach for getting clinical results.

I provide psychotherapy from three practice locations. The New York City psychotherapy practice is located in midtown Manhattan at Park Avenue and 38 Street. I also offer treatment and counseling for panic disorder in Westchester county in White Plains, NY and in Greenwich, CT.

Please contact me if you would like to find out more about my approach to treating panic attacks and panic disorder, as a licensed clinical psychologist, counselor and psychotherapist in New York City, Greenwich, CT, and White Plains, NY,

Greenwich Counselor - CT Therapy
2 Benedict Place
Suite 2E
Greenwich, CT 06830

(914) 980-6961
New York Psychologist Manhattan
71 Park Avenue
Suite 1D
New York, NY 10016

(212) 213-6593
Westchester Therapist
499 North Broadway
Professional Suites
White Plains, NY 10603

(914) 997-7458

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© Robert M. Fraum, Ph.D., 2002 - 2015
Connecticut and New York Licensed Psychologist
Licensed Psychotherapist Connecticut - 003154
Licensed Psychologist New York - 005306