If you are suffering from anxiety or stress, finding a therapist with specialized training and experience in the field of cognitive-behavioral therapy is important. Below you will find information regarding my qualifications to help you determine whether I might be the best fit for your needs.
I received both my Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The Clinical Psychology Program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst is a competitive program that has been accredited by the American Psychological Association since 1957. The program is based on a scientist-practitioner model and therefore involved both clinical training and the production of original scientific research. My research was in the areas of perfectionism, anxiety, body image, depression, and Asian American issues and has been published in scientific psychology journals. I also wrote book chapters on cross cultural issues in body image satisfaction and have had the opportunity to present and speak at a variety of settings on both research and clinical topics.
I majored in psychology at the University of California, Irvine where I graduated in three years with honors. My academic experiences included participation in research labs in the fields of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), learning processes in children, and hearing mechanisms in adults.
I attended an American school in Japan for much of my secondary education. My experiences living overseas, attending an international school, and interacting with other international students has had a great influence on who I am both personally and professionally. The American School in Japan provided solid academic instruction and promoted awareness and respect for other cultures through both academic and experiential learning. This early experience made it a natural process for me to utilize cultural sensitivity in my therapy practice.
School of Life
Though not part of my formal academic training, I do consider my year backpacking around the world to the Netherlands, Kenya, Rwanda, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Singapore, Indonesia, and New Zealand as one of my most valuable learning experiences. I have also traveled throughout the years to Japan, the islands of Hawaii, Hong Kong, the Philippines, South Korea, Italy, Costa Rica, and Peru. These experiences have introduced me to new lands and new cultures which have broadened my understanding of the human experience. During my travels, I not only try to appreciate the sights but also try to learn about the people, the history, and the culture of the places I visit. I plan to continue to use travel as a way to expand my understanding of different cultural viewpoints and lifestyles.
My clinical experiences included working in community clinics, college counseling centers, an inpatient substance abuse treatment center at a Veteran’s hospital, a psychiatric emergency center, inpatient psychiatric hospitals, and general medical settings. I was trained in both psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioral therapies, but I developed a specific interest in the cognitive-behavioral treatment of anxiety disorders while working at an Anxiety Disorders Clinic with Dr.s Randy Frost and Patricia Di Bartolo who are both clinical experts and published researchers in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Dr. Randy Frost is a nationally recognized expert in the areas of perfectionism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and hoarding, and Dr. Patricia DiBartolo is an expert in treating anxiety disorders in children and adolescents and had trained under Dr. David Barlow, one of the pioneers and leading experts on the cognitive-behavioral treatment of anxiety disorders. At the clinic, I received training for two years in the use of empirically-validated treatment protocols for Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. This was my first introduction to the highly effective nature of cognitive-behavioral therapy for the treatment of anxiety disorders.
The Long Beach VA’s psychology internship program has been accredited by the American Psychological Association since 1980. My focus was on behavioral medicine, which relates to the use of psychological principles to prevent and manage medical issues. I worked in the areas of oncology, HIV, hospice, neuropsychology, spinal cord injury, primary care, chronic pain, general medical inpatient care, and mental health utilizing primarily cognitive-behavioral techniques. Heading the Chronic Pain Management Program was Dr. Richard Hanson, author of Coping with Chronic Pain: A Guide to Patient Self-Management.
My postdoctoral fellowship was at a Harvard Medical School training site through Cambridge Health Alliance's Behavioral Medicine Program. The fellowship provided extensive experience in integrating psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioral techniques that were supplemented, when appropriate, with mindfulness, relaxation, biofeedback, or hypnosis. Clinical work was focused on working with adults at a community mental health clinic who presented with issues related to anxiety, depression, chronic pain, body image dissatisfaction, weight management, and stress-related disorders such as headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, and TMJ. This experience taught me how to use cognitive-behavioral flexibly while integrating other effective techniques.
I worked at the University of California Irvine’s Counseling Center from 2003 to 2008. There my specialization was in the cognitive behavioral treatment of anxiety and stress. I ran a highly successful Stress Management Group, provided supervision in cognitive behavioral therapy to psychologists in training, and conducted seminars in cognitive-behavioral therapy as part of their competitive psychology internship training program that draws in interns from across the country. Being at a Counseling Center required a generalist approach, and therefore, individual counseling also involved working with depression, body image dissatisfaction, transitions into and out of college, personal growth, coping with medical illnesses, bereavement, and difficulties in family, romantic, roommate, and friendship relationships all in the context of an ethnically diverse, LGBTQ friendly environment. The focus of the counseling center was on multicultural competence, and thus, the staff was made up of experts in issues of multiculturalism and diversity.
I thoroughly enjoy teaching and have been involved in it in some form throughout my life. In college and graduate school, I tutored Japanese adolescents in their general schoolwork and taught SAT and GRE prep courses. While in graduate school, I was a teaching assistant for various psychology courses and have since then been an adjunct professor teaching undergraduate courses in behavioral modification, human development, abnormal psychology, and general psychology at Cal State Dominguez Hills and Irvine Valley College. I have also worked as an adjunct professor at Argosy's doctorate program teaching a course in Cognitive Behavioral Theories and Techniques and have guest lectured on the topic of cognitive-behavioral therapy at Pepperdine and Argosy’s graduate schools and at UCI's internship program. More recently, I homeschooled my own children up until the 3rd grade.
Teaching is an important skill in cognitive behavioral therapy in that this type of therapy involves providing the client with education about the development, maintenance, and treatment of their presenting problem, and this must be done in a clear and concise manner that is digestible to the client. Teaching a wide range of topics in a wide range of settings has also been valuable in that it has allowed me to keep abreast of new developments in the whole field and has helped me develop a comprehensive understanding of human nature across the life span.
Kawamura, K. Y. (2015). Cross-cultural and ethnicity issues in diagnosis. In L. Smolak & M.P. Levine (Eds.), The Wiley Handbook of Eating Disorders (pp. 197-208). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Kawamura, K.Y. (2012). Asian American body images. In T. Cash & L. Smolak (Eds.), Body Image: A Handbook of Science, Practice, and Prevention, 2nd Edition. New York: Guilford Press.
Kawamura, K.Y. (2012). Body image among Asian Americans. In T. Cash (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Body Image and Human Appearance (pp. 95-102). Oxford: Elsevier.
Kawamura, K.Y., & Rice, T. (2008). Body image among Asian Americans. In N. Tewari & A.N. Alvarez (Eds.), Asian American Psychology: Current Perspectives (pp. 537-558). New York: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Kawamura, K.Y. & Frost, R.O. (2004). Self-concealment as a mediator in the relationship between perfectionism and psychological distress. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 28. 183-191.
Kawamura, K.Y. (2002). Asian American body images. In T.E. Cash, & T.P. Pruzinsky (Eds.), Body Image: A Handbook of Theory, Research, and Clinical Practice (pp. 243-249). New York: Guilford Press.
Kawamura, K.Y., Frost, R.O., & Harmatz, M.G. (2002). The relationship of perceived parenting styles to perfectionism. Personality and Individual Differences, 32(2), 317-327.
Kawamura, K.Y., Hunt, S., DiBartolo, P., & Frost, R. (2001). Perfectionism, anxiety, and depression: Are the relationships independent? Cognitive Therapy and Research,
Harmatz, M.G., Well, A.D., Overtree, C.E., Kawamura, K.Y., Rosal, M., & Ockene, I.S. (2000). Seasonal variation of depression and other moods: A longitudinal approach. Journal of Biological Rhythms, 15(4), 344-350.
Reviewer for research articles from Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, and Psychological Assessment. (2005-2006).
I have given presentations at meetings of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies on topics related to cognitive-behavioral therapy, anxiety disorders, stress management, Asian-American issues, body image, and perfectionism.