Using ACT to Guide Exposure Therapy: The Basics 

September 23, 2022 | 12-3:00pm PST

w/ Brian Thompson, PhD, Brian Pilecki, PhD and Joanne Chan, PhD

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About The Workshop

Exposure therapy is the gold standard intervention for anxiety and obsessive-compulsive and related disorders (OCRDs). Since the early success of exposure, many theories have been created to understand and explain its mechanism. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy has emerged as a useful framework to understand how to use exposure effectively including how to overcome barriers to engagement with exposure. Within the past 10 years, research has demonstrated the effectiveness of exposure therapy within the context of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (Bluett et al., 2014). This is a beginner workshop intended to provide the foundations of exposure therapy including types of exposure interventions and design effective exposure exercises for various anxiety disorders and OCRDs. Participants will learn how to use ACT processes to guide the implementation of exposure techniques and how ACT processes may be enhanced by traditional exposure methods. This workshop will provide some background in theory and will emphasize applying exposure to clinical contexts using case studies, exposure demonstrations, and the practice of new skills by participants. 

Meet Your Instructors

Brian Thompson, PhD

Dr. Brian Thompson is a licensed psychologist and director for the anxiety clinic at Portland Psychotherapy. Brian completed his doctorate at the University of Montana, his pre-doctoral internship at the Portland VA Medical Center, and a post-doctoral fellowship focused on acceptance and commitment therapy 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, and he was a consultant and therapist for a telehealth program focused on health anxiety through Regence.  

Brian Pilecki, Ph.D.

Dr. Brian Pilecki is a clinical psychologist who 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. 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, psychedelics, and the relationship between theory and practice in psychotherapy. At Portland Psychotherapy, Brian is also involved in research in the use of psychedelics for the treatment of mental health problems.

Joanne Chan, Psy.D.

Joanne Chan, Psy.D. (she/her), is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and licensed psychologist in the Resident and Faculty Wellness Program at OHSU. Prior to joining the team at OHSU, Dr. Chan was a staff psychologist at Portland Psychotherapy specializing in the ACT-informed exposure therapy for anxiety and obsessive-compulsive and related disorders. As an anxiety clinic faculty member at Portland Psychotherapy, she also provided training in evidence-based approaches for anxiety and OC-related disorders (including perfectionism) to postdoctoral fellows and practicum students. Dr. Chan earned her B.A. from the University of California, San Diego, and her Psy.D. from the PGSP-Stanford Psy.D. Consortium. After becoming licensed in 2009, she ran a private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area for several years, conducted clinical research on the effectiveness of various evidence-based approaches for hoarding disorder, and provided instruction to masters level counseling students as an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco. In addition to her work with anxiety and OC-related issues using ACT and exposure therapy, Dr. Chan enjoys working with clients who are experiencing issues related to culture, such as cultural identity development, anxiety related to discrimination and marginalization, and developing skills to live a life based on values in a high-pressure, fast-paced culture.

Join us!



for up-and-coming professionals

  • Access to exclusive webinar setting with Dr. Brian Thompson, Dr. Brian Pilecki and Dr. Joanne Chan
  • Free Access to Portland Psychotherapy Community Resources
  • Must be enrolled in accredited study program

Professionals (w/ CE Certificate)


Most Popular

  • Access to exclusive webinar setting with Dr. Brian Thompson, Brian Pilecki and Dr. Joanne Chan
  • Continuing Education Certificate
  • Free Access to Portland Psychotherapy Community Resources



Therapists who would like to learn more about integrating exposure therapy with the ACT model of psychological flexibility, especially therapists new to exposure. It is helpful to have some background in ACT though folks who are new to the model are also welcome. For therapists wanting more training on this topic, we are hosting a second workshop next month that goes into further depth. You can learn more about that one here.  


After attending this training, participants will be able to:

  1. Provide an ACT-consistent rationale for exposure therapy. 
  2. Explain how and when to use different types of exposure (in vivo; imaginal; interoceptive). 
  3. Design exposure exercises that strengthen ACT processes. 


Registration is online. Presentations will be recorded and sent to anyone who registers for the event. 


We reserve a number of partial scholarships for potential attendees who could not otherwise afford to come. We give particular priority given to those who would add diverse and under represented voices to our field. To submit an application, please click here.


Portland Psychology Clinic, Research & Training Center is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Portland Psychotherapy, Clinic, Research & Training Center maintains responsibility for all programs and content.

This workshop grants 3 CE credits for therapists with the purchase of Professionals with CE Certificate ticket and live attendance of the entire workshop. Credit will not be given for only watching the recording.

REFUNDS/CANCELLATIONS: We charge a $15 administration fee for cancellations made by participants more than two weeks before the training event. For cancellations within two weeks of the training event, we will refund 50% of the tuition. Alternately, participants may elect to apply 100% of their tuition to a future training event. No refunds will be given after training events.

SPECIAL ACCOMODATIONS: Please contact us if you need accommodations to enable you to fully participate in the workshop. We will work with you and do our best to find a way to ensure your participation.

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