Panic disorder and self states: Clinical and research illustrations

Donna M. Mahoney*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Patients who suffer from panic attacks are often deeply distressed by the symptoms of panic and their aftermath. Alarming physiological symptoms (i.e., dizziness, shakiness, and abdominal distress) are typically accompanied by a sense of imminent doom. This article presents a formulation of panic disorder that assumes that panic results from selfobject failures, leading to fragmentation and disorganizing experiences. Early selfobject responses to panic set the stage for the meanings of panic in subsequent development. A single clinical case, along with examples from research, illustrates the benefit of focusing on developmental processes and unconscious and preconscious fantasies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-212
Number of pages16
JournalClinical Social Work Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Fragmentation
  • Panic
  • Selfobject failures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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