Treating Emotional Avoidance in Stage I DBT: Exposure Strategies


Dates: July 13-15, 2022 (Three 3.25-hour sessions)

Location: Online (Zoom)

Instructors: Shari Manning, Ph.D.

Course Description:

In the treatment manual for Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Marsha Linehan (1993) described Dialectical Behavior Therapy as an exposure-based treatment.  Conceptually, people who have high emotion sensitivity and emotional intensity learn to avoid emotion.  In DBT clients, the behaviors that are targeted in treatment (life threatening, therapy interfering and quality of life interfering behaviors) are often the avoidance behaviors of uncomfortable emotions.  Providing DBT requires that the therapist identifies cues for emotional avoidance and exposes clients to those cues while blocking avoidance behaviors.  Harned (2014) has developed exposure based DBT-PE (prolonged exposure) to target symptoms of PTSD in Stage 2 of DBT.  However, in order to transition from Stage 1 to Stage 2, clients often need exposure-based interventions to decrease life threatening and extreme quality of life interfering behaviors, make progress towards lives worth living and develop skills for emotional experiencing. 

Exposure based principles are used in several ways in DBT.  First, because shame is an emotion that drives many of the behaviors targeted in DBT, coming to therapy, completing a diary card, participating in behavioral chain analyses and solution analyses are exposure to shame. Exposure is used to address in-session dysfunctional behaviors.  Second, once assessment is completed and controlling variables for problem behaviors are determined, the DBT individual psychotherapist may need to do informal exposure to an emotion link or a vulnerability factor that leads to a problem behavior. Third, in DBT Stage 1, clients are asked to collaboratively define, with their therapists, their Life Worth Living Goals (LWLG’s).  The targets and interventions in DBT are focused on moving clients towards these LWLG’s.  Many DBT clients want to reach their LWLG’s but have patterns of avoiding engaging in behaviors that would move them to their goals.  Informal exposure principles are used as one approach to achieving LWLG’s.  DBT therapists help clients to develop an exposure lifestyle which is one in which people actively engage in meaningful behaviors even when emotion (fear, shame, guilt) would interfere.  Finally, exposure principles are used in the DBT consultation team to address emotion intensity and/or avoidance in the therapists providing DBT. 

This 9-hour virtual course will describe the principles of exposure used in Stage 1 DBT.  There will be demonstrations and practices in conducing in-session exposure, exposure as a solution for problem behaviors, exposure for experiential avoidance and conducting exposure with colleagues on the DBT consultation team. 

Continuing Education: 

This course is 9 hours. 100% participation is required to receive any credit. No partial credit will be given for any reason.  In order to document participation in this live online course, each participant will be provided their own invitation to attend each session.  At the conclusion of the course, each participant will be required to complete an Attestation that they attended 100% of each training session. 

Social Workers: TIC is applying for continuing education through the NASW. 

Counselors: TIC is applying for continuing education for counselors.

Psychologists: Treatment Implementation Collaborative, LLC (TIC) is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. TIC maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

APA credit will be provided upon completion of the course. 100% participation is required in order to receive any credit. No partial credit will be given. 9 APA hours.

Tuition and Registration:

Regular Rate: $250 (USD) per person.

Early Rate: $225 (USD) per person (save $25pp). To qualify for the early payment rate, tuition must be received in full by May 31, 2022.

Small Groups (2-4): $225 (USD) per person (save $25 pp). To qualify for the group payment rate, 2-4 individuals must register and pay in a single transaction and you must enter code “GroupEx22” at checkout.


If you are registering someone else, please enter your name in the BILLING section and the participant's name and email in the PARTICIPANT section. If you are registering more than one person, please add the additional names AND email addresses in the GROUP section. We MUST have emails for all participants to complete their registrations. 

Jump Start in DBT - Online 2021
  • Item #: Exposure Strategies 2022
  * Marked fields are required.
Tuition $250.00
Availability Space Available