Ninja ACT for Anxiety and OC and Related Disorders: Using ACT-informed Exposure Disguised as Symptom Reduction for ACT-Resistant Clients with Joanne Chan, Brian Thompson & Brian Pilecki

Dr. Joanne Chan, Dr. Brian Pilecki & Dr. Brian Thompson

Connections Behavior Planning and Intervention is excited to welcome Joanne Chan, Brian Thompson and Brian Pilecki, for a webinar for Behavior Analysts! This event will focus on an application of ACT for anxiety and obsessive-compulsive (and related) disorders, disguising the interventions as ‘symptom reduction’ for those clients who may be resistant to the traditional look and feel of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.


Are you struggling with an anxiety or obsessive-compulsive and related disorders client? Do they become overwhelmed during mindfulness exercises and refuse to continue? Do your metaphors fall flat? Have you tried finger traps, playing tug-of-war, or pushing a clipboard in their face, but they still insist that struggling with their anxiety is necessary to keep them from completely falling apart?  What if the solution is the last thing you’d expect: exposure! We’ll explain how using exposure exercises designed to result in symptom reduction can be used in ways that are consistent with ACT to strengthen each of the 6 core hexaflex processes. Using recent research on ACT-informed exposure, inhibitory learning theory (e.g., Weisman & Rodebaugh, 2018), and a dash of clinical RFT, participants will learn to create ACT-consistent exposure exercises for clients who remain skeptical of “acceptance” and appear disinterested when you try to engage them with values. The presenters will discuss practice-based data to support these principles (e.g., Thompson, Twohig, & Luoma, under review).

About the Presenters

Dr. Joanne Chan is a clinical psychologist at Portland Psychotherapy (PP) specializing in the treatment of anxiety and obsessive-compulsive and related disorders (OCRD). As an anxiety clinic faculty member at PP, Joanne provides training to postdoctoral fellows and practicum students in evidence-based approaches for treating anxiety and OCRD with an emphasis on ACT-informed exposure therapy. She and her colleagues in the anxiety clinic collaborate on a variety of professional activities with the aim of contributing to the knowledge and understanding of ACT-informed approaches to treating anxiety disorders and OCRD.  Prior to joining the staff at PP, Joanne successfully ran her own private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area specializing for 8 years. While in the Bay Area, Joanne provided training on exposure therapy for OCD, CBT for hoarding disorder, acted as co-chair of the San Francisco Hoarding Task Force, conducted clinical research on the effectiveness of various evidence-based approaches for hoarding disorder, and was adjunct faculty at the University of San Francisco, where she taught courses on behavior therapy to graduate students in the MFT program. Joanne is a graduate of the PGSP-Stanford PsyD Consortium.

Dr. Brian Thompson is a licensed psychologist and director for the anxiety clinic at Portland Psychotherapy. After earning his doctorate, Brian completed a post-doctoral fellowship focused on ACT under the supervision of Jason Luoma, PhD, (e.g., Learning ACT) and Jenna Lejeune , PhD, (e.g., Values in Therapy). Passionate about evidence-based treatment, he specializes in working with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive and related disorders (OCRD). In addition to working full-time as a clinician, Brian has published in peer-reviewed journals on Third Wave approaches to anxiety and OCRD, organized and contributed to professional trainings (e.g., workshops, symposia, panel discussion) on related topics, and offers consultation to professionals on integrating ACT and newer models of exposure in clinical work. He has held leadership positions, most recently as Past-President for the Oregon Chapter of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science. Brian is a lapsed blogger.

Dr. Brian Pilecki is a clinical psychologist at the Portland Psychotherapy Clinic that specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders (OCD, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic disorder), trauma and PTSD, and matters related to the use of psychedelics.  Brian completed his doctorate at Fordham University in Bronx, NY and completed his pre-doctoral internship at the Weill-Cornell Medical center at New York Presbyterian Hospital.  He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and practices from an orientation based in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).  Brian also has extensive experience in the areas of mindfulness and meditation, and incorporates them into his therapy with clients.  He is an active researcher and has published on topics such as anxiety disorders, mindfulness, and the relationship between theory and practice in psychotherapy.  Brian has also held numerous leadership positions, including his current service as a committee chairperson for the Association for Contextual and Behavioral Science.  At Portland Psychotherapy, Brian is also involved in research in his specialty areas.

Learning Objectives

  1. Describe how exposure may be used to strengthen each of the 6 core ACT processes.
  2. Explain why designing exposure exercises in the service of symptom reduction can be ACT-consistent.
  3. Discuss how ACT principles and inhibitory learning theory can be used to increase flexibility in the design of exposure exercises.


CEU’s included, and Cost to Attend:

  • 2.0 Learning BACB CEU’s per session (included with purchase)
  • $39.99 to attend
    • Includes access to the recording and presentation materials, and CEU’s.

For questions, challenges with registration, or any other needed information, please contact Dusty, Director of Continuing Education and ACE Coordinator for CBPI, LLC, at continuingeducation@connections-behavior.com.

Connections Behavior Planning & Intervention, LLC, is a BACB-Approved ACE Provider (Provider # OP-17-2781). The BACB does not directly sponsor or endorse this event, its speakers, or its content.

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