Lauren Pellizzi LLC

Specialized Anxiety Treatment

Anxiety Therapy Red Bank

Interoceptive exposure is a cognitive behavioral therapy technique used in the treatment of panic disorder and refers to exposure to bodily sensations.  Exposure to feared body sensations is necessary for the brain to learn that these sensations, while uncomfortable, are not dangerous or catastrophic. The aims of interoceptive exposure are:

  • To elicit the feared body sensations

  • To activate any unhelpful beliefs associated with the body sensations

  • To maintain the feared body sensations without distraction or avoidance (exposure)

  • To allow new learning about the bodily sensations to take place​​

panic attacks

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is diagnosed in people who experience spontaneous seemingly out-of-the-blue panic attacks and are preoccupied with the fear of a recurring attack. Panic attacks occur unexpectedly, sometimes even during sleep.


​A panic attack is the abrupt onset of intense fear or discomfort that reaches a peak within minutes and includes at least four of the following symptoms:

  • Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
  • Feelings of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint
  • Chills or heat sensations
  • Paresthesia (numbness or tingling sensations)
  • Derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself) 
  • Fear of losing control or “going crazy”
  • Fear of dying


​Panic Disorder is treated with several therapeutic interventions, with exposure therapy being particularly effective. Interoceptive exposure is an important component of treatment.  Anxiety problems often involve a fear of bodily sensations or symptoms.  This creates a vicious cycle:

Interoceptive Exposure Therapy