Event Calendar

*SOLD OUT* ACT with Challenging Clients: Adding Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to Enhance Your Interventions by Richard Sears, PsyD, PhD, MBA, ABPP

Richard Sears, PsyD, PhD, MBA, ABPP

MHS Education Center

6600 France Ave S. Suite 230

Edina, MN 55435


Order By Phone: (920) 494-3401 or (800) 895-0071

Registration will close after the first 45 seats fill.


12 CEs Approved by the Following:

MN Board of Social Work: CEP-452
MN Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy (LPC/LPCC) Log Number: 2018.CE.179
MN Board of Psychology Log Number: 201907.275

Program Description:

If you or your clients are feeling stuck, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) can give you a bigger perspective on the dynamics of why and where the inertia is happening. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is an evidence-based approach that can incorporate any other effective intervention. Acceptance processes, which include mindfulness, help clients let go of struggles with their own internal experiences with strong thoughts and feelings. Commitment processes help clients clarify and move toward their own values in the service of living a more meaningful life. Join experienced ACT presenter Richard Sears, Psy.D., MBA, ABPP, as he delivers an exercise and technique-heavy course that will give you the tools needed to more effectively treat clients with depression, anxiety, trauma, and personality disorders. Richard will teach you the main concepts of ACT, including mindfulness, acceptance, and defusion--demonstrating how these create greater psychological flexibility. Discover a variety of techniques for helping clients who are struggling to make difficult behavior changes due to the presence of painful thoughts, feelings, and memories. You will learn how to effectively use metaphors, custom techniques, and experiential exercises to help your clients identify their values and translate them into behavior goals. Through case examples, video clips, and role-play you will be able to integrate ACT techniques and skills in your practice immediately!

Richard Sears, PsyD, PhD, MBA, ABPP


Richard Sears, PsyD, PhD, MBA, ABPP, is a board-certified, licensed psychologist in Cincinnati, Ohio. Dr. Sears runs a private psychology and consultation practice, and is the director of the Center for Clinical Mindfulness & Meditation. He holds a number of academic appointments, including at the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neurosciences at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He is author of a dozen books, including Mindfulness: Living Through Challenges and Enriching Your Life in this Moment (Wiley-Blackwell); Building Competence in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (Routledge); and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for PTSD (Wiley-Blackwell).


Dr. Sears is also a fifth degree black belt in Ninjutsu, and once served briefly as a personal protection agent for the Dalai Lama with his teacher, Stephen K. Hayes. He has studied the Eastern Wisdom traditions for over 30 years, receiving ordination in three traditions, and received transmission as a Zen master from his teacher Wonji Dharma. His website is www.psych-insights.com.

Daily Agenda

Day 1 – Morning:
ACT in a Nutshell
The role of values: mindfulness, acceptance,
commitment, behavior
Experiential avoidance
Existential behaviorism
Psychological flexibility
ACT for anxiety, depression, trauma and
personality disorders
Disorder-specific strategies
Common treatment elements
Metaphors, paradox and experiential
Day 1 – Afternoon:
Role of Exposure in ACT
Translate client values into behavioral goals
Barriers to behavioral goals: external and
internal avoidance
External Exposure
Internal Exposure
Bodily sensations
Day 2 – Morning:
ACT in Action
Client avoidance strategies
(including rumination)
Clean vs. dirty anxiety
Attack reason giving
Anxiety detector exercise
Turn up the willingness knob
Passengers on the bus metaphor
And vs. but
Function of trauma symptoms
Specify treatment goals
Target self-harm behaviors
Increase psychological safety
Tin can monster exercise
Mindfulness exercises
File cabinet exercise
Day 2 – Afternoon:
Role of avoidance in depression
Target suicidality
Evaluation vs. description exercise
Notice thoughts and defuse language
Observing self exercise
Personality Disorders
Increase emotional tolerance
Values clarification
Mind vs. experience
Person in the hole analogy
Target the client’s story
Work with client anger
Role of therapist self-disclosure
Chessboard metaphor

Learning Objectives

1. Develop a deep understanding of the six core processes of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to help clients advance psychological flexibility.
2. Incorporate the role of psychological flexibility in ACT and list clinical techniques for increasing it.
3. Describe internal and external experiential avoidance and why it creates psychological difficulties.
4. Clarify the ways that struggling with thoughts and emotions can intensify them.
5. Identify how to reduce experiential avoidance by implementing emotional and behavioral willingness techniques with clients.
6. Demonstrate how ACT incorporates elements of exposure therapy to reduce experiential avoidance.
7. Use metaphors to undermine language-based avoidance repertoires to improve client engagement.
8. Define cognitive fusion and how it leads to ruminations and worries.
9. Define cognitive defusion and how clients can use it to change their relationship to distressing thoughts.
10. Help clients clarify their values to give them direction and willingness to engage with challenges.
11. Practice mindfulness skills to teach clients to better understand unhelpful automatic patterns of thinking, feeling, and reacting.
12. Create committed action plans to concretely implement change strategies.
13. Discover core ACT concepts through the use of role-playing, case examples and clinical videos.
14. Integrate ACT techniques into treatment for specific disorders including depression, anxiety, trauma and personality disorders.