Exposure Therapy for Anxiety Disorders

Four Thursdays in April 2023

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Eight hours: Four weekly meetings of two hours each.

Dates: 4 Thursdays - April 6, 13, 20, 27, 2023

Times: 9 am Pacific, 10 Mountain, 11 Central, 12 Eastern, 1 pm Atlantic

Format: Live Online via Zoom. Learn from the comfort of your own home or office!

CE: 8 hours, approved by the Canadian Psychological Association (*see note at bottom).

Most anxiety-related client presentations involve two components: Anxiety and avoidance. Avoidance brings relief from anxiety, but this relief brings more avoidance in a feedback cycle that tends to magnify the problem.

Enter exposure therapy - one of the oldest, best researched, and most established of psychotherapeutic interventions. Bypassing anxiety management (for the most part), exposure therapy targets avoidance, supporting clients' abilities to face their fears a bit at a time, building confidence and capacity along the way.

Virtually every clinician will encounter clients for whom exposure therapy is indicated. Yet the specifics of this intervention are seldom taught in clinical training programs with the precision they merit. As a result, the power of exposure in the management of anxiety and avoidance is muted or lost entirely.

This course provides the details of best practices in exposure therapy for a variety of common client presentations - all in an engaging, structured, step-by-step format. Along the way we'll consider various anxiety disorders and how exposure-based work fits in their treatment. Even if you've been using exposure-based work in your practice, I think you'll find strategies here that will prove useful.

Session One: The Structure of Fear

  • The nature of stress.
  • The nature of anxiety.
  • Avoidance (not anxiety) disorders.
  • How fears develop.
  • FOCUS ON: Specific Phobia.
  • Exposure and habituation.
  • Assessing anxiety and avoidance.

Session Two: Designing Your Therapy

  • FOCUS ON: Social anxiety and avoidance.
  • Stages of change.
  • Explaining the model to clients.
  • Subjective Units of Distress (SUDs).
  • The three zones of comfort.
  • The exposure sequence.
  • Creating your hierarchy.

Session Three: Implementation

  • FOCUS ON: Obsessive compulsive disorder.
  • Exposure and response prevention.
  • Safety behaviours.
  • In-session exposure.
  • Exposure-based homework.
  • The exposure finish line.
  • Repetitions, not intensity.
  • Inviting imperfection.
  • Addressing cognitive avoidance.

Session Four: Special Cases

  • Working your way up the hierarchy.
  • Generalization across hierarchies.
  • Handling failure experiences.
  • FOCUS ON: Panic and agoraphobia.
  • Interoceptive exposure.
  • Flight phobia.
  • Blood/injury phobias.
  • Imaginal exposure therapy.
  • Cognitive challenging and exposure.
  • Behavioural experiments.
  • Course wrap-up.
What You Receive

In advance of the program, each participant will receive an email with:

  • Links to the presentations.
  • Free ongoing access to an on-demand version of the program.
  • A complete set of presentation slide handouts with room for notes (you may wish to print these in advance).
  • Exercise forms and handouts that can be used in therapy with your clients.
Course Objectives
By the end of the course, qualified and trained mental health professionals will be able to…

  • Identify client presentations for which exposure therapy is a recommended intervention.
  • Understand and explain to clients the conditioning theory behind the origin and intensification of common fears.
  • Understand the application of exposure therapy in specific phobia, social anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and agoraphobia.
  • Assist clients in developing an exposure therapy hierarchy tailored to individual concerns.
  • Manage in-session and field-trip exposure exercises with clients, and provide effective guidelines for home practice.
  • Monitor progress and adjust interventions accordingly.

Who Is This Course For? This course is intended for professional therapists (including psychologists, clinical counselors, social workers, and other trained psychotherapists), and students in these fields. Those working with anxiety- and avoidance-involved client presentations will find the program particularly useful.

A Note About PTSD Many clients develop anxiety-related difficulties following intense distressing events. In some cases these challenges meet the criteria for a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Although the principles of exposure therapy underlie many of the structured approaches to post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD merits specific attention on the complications and challenges it presents.

Consequently, the treatment of diagnosable PTSD falls outside the boundaries of this course. Those wishing training in PTSD treatment are best advised to look for continuing education programs focussed specifically on this topic.

CE Credits

Participants who wish a certificate of course completion must complete the course feedback form and pass a 12-item multiple-choice quiz (the quiz may be retaken if needed). Changeways Clinic is an approved provider of Continuing Education under the Canadian Psychological Association.

*See note below regarding CPA Approval.

About Your Presenter
Dr Randy Paterson (randypaterson.com) is a psychologist and the director of Changeways Clinic, one of Vancouver’s largest private psychotherapy services. He is the author of five books, including The Assertiveness Workbook, How to be Miserable: 40 Strategies You Already Use, and How to be Miserable in Your Twenties. He hosts a YouTube channel on psychological topics called PsychologySalon, and operates an online on-demand site for Continuing Education courses at PsychologySalon.Teachable.com. He has presented well over 300 training programs for mental health professionals across Canada and internationally on topics including cognitive therapy, exposure therapy, assertiveness skills, private practice management, diversity awareness, the treatment of depression, and the “failure to launch” phenomenon.

To Register

Please pay via the Paypal "BUY NOW" button below, selecting the appropriate option from the drop-down list.

Regular fee: $239.00

Full-Time Students in Related Field: $189.00

Please note: There is also ONE space in each program for a 75% discount on the regular-price registration fee in exchange for serving as a host assistant. Click here for details.

For purchases of 5 or more spaces, please contact me at paterson@changeways.com. We are able to provide discounts for groups.

Please select from drop-down

*A Note Regarding CPA Approval

The Canadian Psychological Association's approval of an individual, group, or organization as a CE Sponsor or Provider is restricted to the activities described in the approved application or annual report form. The CPA’s approval does not extend to any other CE activity the Sponsor or Provider might offer. In granting its approval, the CPA assumes no legal or financial obligations to Sponsors, Providers, or to those individuals who might participate in a Sponsor or Provider’s CE activities or programs. Further, responsibility for the content, provision, and delivery of any CE activity approved by the CPA remains that of the CE Sponsor or Provider. The CPA disclaims all legal liability associated with the content, provision, and delivery of the approved CE activity. This program adheres to the ethical standards of the Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists.

Interested in hosting a workshop in your region, or specifically for staff in your own agency or organization? Click here.


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