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Digital Seminar

Mindfulness as Exposure Therapy: Avoiding the Avoidance Trap

Richard Sears, PSYD, PHD, MBA, ABPP
1 Hour 58 Minutes
Mar 20, 2021
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Media Type:
Digital Seminar
Never expires.


Mindfulness is a popular intervention these days, well-supported by clinical research and brain-scan studies. But many well-meaning clinicians use mindfulness to distract clients from unpleasant thoughts and feelings, inadvertently reinforcing the avoidance cycle, which increases struggle in the long term. This recording will help you avoid the avoidance trap and translate research findings into powerful tools. Learn proven techniques for using mindfulness to help clients move more directly into transforming their relationship with difficult thoughts, emotions, and body sensations. You’ll discover: 

  • Specific tools to help clients break free from the circular traps they create by fighting with their own distressing thoughts 
  • Concrete practices to help clients move into the body sensations that underlie strong emotions, so they can transform them from within 
  • How to apply a three-minute exercise to help clients quickly move into challenging thoughts, feelings, and sensations to disrupt the avoidance cycle 
  • Increase therapist resilience and presence with challenging clients to improve your outcomes 



Richard Sears, PSYD, PHD, MBA, ABPP's Profile

Richard Sears, PSYD, PHD, MBA, ABPP Related seminars and products

Richard Sears, Psy.D., Ph.D., MBA, ABPP, is a licensed psychologist in Cincinnati, Ohio, board certified in clinical psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP), runs a private psychology and consultation practice, and is the Director of the Center for Clinical Mindfulness & Meditation. He is also clinical assistant professor at Wright State University School of Professional Psychology, clinical/research faculty at the UC Center for Integrative Health and Wellness, volunteer professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neurosciences at the UC College of Medicine, and a research/psychologist contractor with the Cincinnati VA Medical Center.

His most recent books include: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy & Mindfulness Toolbox (PESI, 2017); Mindfulness: Living Through Challenges and Enriching Your Life in this Moment (Wiley-Blackwell); Perspectives on Spirituality and Religion in Psychotherapy (PR Press, 2014); Building Competence in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (Routledge, 2015); and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for PTSD (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016). Dr. Sears is lead author of Mindfulness in Clinical Practice (PR Press, 2011) and Consultation Skills for Mental Health Professionals (Wiley, 2005).

Dr. Sears is a fifth-degree black belt in Ninjutsu, and once served 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 has been given transmission as a Zen master.

Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Dr. Richard Sears maintains a private practice and has an employment relationship with the University of Cincinnati, Alliance Integrative Medicine, and Wright State University School of Professional Psychology. Dr. Sears receives royalties as a published author. He receives a speaking honorarium, recording royalties, and book royalties from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.

Non-financial: Dr. Richard Sears is the director of the Center for Clinical Mindfulness and Meditation. He has professional affiliations with the American Board of Professional Psychology, the Academy of the American Board of Clinical Psychology, the Association for Contextual Behavioral Sciences, and the Cincinnati Academy of Professional Psychology.

Additional Info

Program Information

Access for Self-Study (Non-Interactive)

Access never expires for this product.


  1. Utilize mindfulness exercises to increase awareness of cognitions underlying distressing thoughts.
  2. Demonstrate exposure to bodily sensations and decentering techniques to manage challenging thoughts and rumination.
  3. Integrate client training in a three-minute mindfulness exercise into clinical practice.


  • Use specific tools to help clients break free from the circular traps they create by fighting with their own distressing thoughts. 
    • Definition of clinical mindfulness 
    • Understanding avoidance, negative reinforcement, and exposure 
  • Explain how to help clients move into the body sensations that underlie strong emotions to transform them from within. 
    • Decentering from challenging thoughts versus disputation 
    • Exposing to bodily sensations to undercut the distraction of ruminating 
  • Describe a three-minute exercise that clients can begin practising immediately to build resilience.  
    • Exposing to thoughts, emotions, and body sensations 
    • Discovering and working with issues before they become overwhelming 

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Psychotherapists
  • Therapists
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Case Managers
  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Other Mental Health Professionals

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