man having panic attack

Empowering Your Clients: 10 Practical Ways to Manage Panic

anxiety management cognitive restructuring empowerment techniques mental health panic attacks Jul 10, 2023

Panic attacks can be a frightening and overwhelming experience for anyone who suffers from them, but there are various practical techniques that individuals can use to manage and reduce the frequency and intensity of panic attacks. As a therapist or mental health professional, it's important to educate clients about panic attacks and offer practical tools and strategies for managing their symptoms.

In this blog, we'll explore ten evidence-based techniques that can empower your clients to take control of their panic attacks and improve their overall quality of life. From cognitive restructuring to mindfulness meditation, these practical approaches can be tailored to fit the unique needs of each individual.

So, whether you're a seasoned clinician or a new practitioner, read on to discover practical ways to empower your clients and help them manage panic attacks.


Technique # 1: Educating About Panic Attacks 

Educating clients about panic attacks can help alleviate some of the fear associated with experiencing them. It's important to explain that panic attacks are a normal response to stress or anxiety and are not life-threatening. By normalizing the experience, clients can begin to understand that they have control over their symptoms.


  • Use simple language to explain the physiology and psychology behind panic attacks.
  • Encourage clients to learn about the common symptoms of panic attacks so they can recognize them when they occur.
  • Provide resources such as books or websites that offer information about panic attacks and coping strategies.


Technique #2: Deep Breathing Techniques 

Deep breathing exercises can help clients manage panic by activating the body's relaxation response and reducing the intensity of panic symptoms. Diaphragmatic breathing, where clients breathe deeply into their abdomen, can be particularly effective. 


  • Teach clients the 4-7-8 breathing technique, where they inhale for four seconds, hold their breath for seven seconds, and exhale for eight seconds.
  • Encourage clients to practice deep breathing exercises regularly, even when they are not experiencing panic symptoms.
  • Help clients identify situations where they may be more likely to experience panic so they can prepare to use deep breathing techniques when needed.


 Technique #3: Grounding Techniques 

Grounding techniques can help redirect clients' attention away from panic symptoms and back to the present moment. Simple grounding exercises such as the 5-4-3-2-1 technique can be effective.


  • Teach clients the 5-4-3-2-1 technique, where they identify and name five things they can see, four things they can touch, three things they can hear, two things they can smell, and one thing they can taste.
  • Encourage clients to engage their senses fully when practicing grounding exercises.
  • Help clients identify physical sensations that can serve as reminders to practice grounding exercises, such as an increased heart rate or shallow breathing.


Technique #4: Progressive Muscle Relaxation 

Progressive muscle relaxation involves systematically tensing and relaxing different muscle groups to promote deep relaxation. This can help clients experience a sense of calm and control, reducing the likelihood of panic. 


  • Guide clients through the process of tensing and relaxing each muscle group, starting from their toes and working up to their heads.
  • Encourage clients to practice progressive muscle relaxation regularly, even when they are not experiencing panic symptoms.
  • Help clients identify situations where they may be more likely to experience panic so they can prepare to use progressive muscle relaxation when needed.


Technique #5: Identifying Triggers and Warning Signs

Identifying triggers and warning signs can empower clients to take proactive steps in preventing panic attacks. Encourage clients to keep a panic diary and note situations, thoughts, or emotions that precede their panic attacks.


  • Help clients identify patterns in their panic diary so they can become more aware of their triggers.
  • Encourage clients to develop strategies to manage or avoid their triggers when possible.
  • Help clients identify early warning signs of panic attacks so they can begin using coping strategies before the panic becomes overwhelming.


CEU Outlet

Are you looking to learn more in-depth about overcoming panic attacks, calming physical symptoms, and helping your clients reclaim their lives? CEU Outlet's continuing education course, "10 Simple Solutions to Panic," is a concise, easy-to-read manual fully grounded in scientifically based clinical practice. This best-selling course is sure to provide much-needed guidance and assistance to anxiety sufferers, offering effective strategies to help your clients overcome panic attacks and regain control of their lives. Don't miss out on enhancing your clinical practice and supporting your clients' mental health - enroll in "10 Simple Solutions to Panic" today.

Technique #6: Cognitive Restructuring

 Cognitive restructuring involves challenging negative or irrational thoughts that contribute to panic attacks and replacing them with more balanced and realistic ones. This can help clients manage their thoughts and reduce the intensity of panic symptoms.


  • Help clients identify distorted thoughts during moments of panic and guide them in reframing those thoughts.
  • Encourage clients to use positive affirmations and realistic self-talk to counteract negative beliefs.
  • Help clients develop a list of positive coping statements they can use during moments of panic.


Technique #7: Foster self-compassion 

Foster self-compassion involves encouraging clients to treat themselves with kindness, understanding, and acceptance, particularly during moments of distress. This can help clients develop a more positive and accepting attitude toward themselves, reducing negative self-talk and increasing their ability to cope with panic symptoms. 


  • Encourage clients to talk to themselves in a kind and understanding way, particularly during moments of distress.
  • Teach clients to practice self-care activities that promote self-compassion, such as taking a warm bath, reading a book, or spending time in nature.
  • Help clients identify negative self-talk patterns and work with them to develop more positive and self-affirming thought patterns.


Technique #8: Promote healthy lifestyle choices


Promoting healthy lifestyle choices involves helping clients identify and engage in activities that promote physical and emotional well-being. This can help reduce stress and anxiety and increase resilience to panic symptoms. 


  •  Encourage clients to engage in regular exercise, such as brisk walking, yoga, or swimming.
  • Help clients develop a balanced and nutritious diet that supports physical and emotional health.
  • Encourage clients to engage in mindfulness practices, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises.


Technique #9: Explore relaxation techniques

 Exploring relaxation techniques involves teaching clients various methods to manage stress and reduce physical tension in the body. This can help clients reduce the intensity and frequency of panic symptoms. 


  • Teach clients deep breathing exercises, such as diaphragmatic breathing or alternate nostril breathing.
  • Encourage clients to engage in progressive muscle relaxation, a technique that involves tensing and then relaxing each muscle group in the body.
  • Teach clients visualization techniques, such as imagining a calm and peaceful scene or visualizing a positive outcome to a stressful situation.


Technique #10: Encourage seeking support

 Encouraging seeking support involves helping clients identify and engage with social support networks, including friends, family, and mental health professionals. This can help clients feel less isolated and more connected, reducing stress and anxiety. 



  • Encourage clients to reach out to trusted friends or family members during moments of distress.
  • Help clients identify mental health professionals in their community and provide them with resources to access these services.
  • Teach clients to engage in self-help groups or online forums to connect with others who may be experiencing similar challenges.


Key Takeaways:

  1. Incorporate cognitive restructuring techniques to help clients identify and challenge negative thoughts that contribute to panic attacks.
  2. Encourage the practice of mindfulness meditation to help clients learn to observe and accept their thoughts and feelings without judgment.
  3. Encourage healthy lifestyle choices such as regular exercise, a healthy diet, and adequate sleep to reduce stress and promote overall well-being.
  4. Help clients explore relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization to reduce the physical symptoms of panic attacks.
  5. Encourage clients to seek social support from friends, family, or mental health professionals to help them cope with panic attacks and related anxiety symptoms.



As a mental health practitioner or clinician, it's important to have a variety of tools and techniques in your arsenal to help clients manage panic attacks. The ten techniques we've discussed in this blog are evidence-based and can be effective in reducing panic symptoms. However, it's also important to remember that every client is unique and what works for one person may not work for another. Therefore, it's important to approach each client with an open mind and tailor your interventions to their individual needs. Overall, by utilizing a combination of cognitive, behavioral, and mindfulness-based techniques, along with promoting healthy lifestyle choices and encouraging seeking support, you can help your clients manage their panic symptoms and improve their overall quality of life.

Related Posts

7 Effective Strategies for Breaking the Cycle of Bullying

Oct 02, 2023