Kathleen Kawamura, PhD Clinical Psychologist
Kathleen Kawamura, PhDClinical Psychologist 

About Me



My clinical experiences included training and working in:

  • Community mental health centers (including an Anxiety Disorders Clinic)
  • College counseling centers (UC Irvine; University of MA, Amherst; Hampshire College)
  • Inpatient substance abuse treatment center
  • Veteran's Health Administration hospital and clinic 
  • Psychiatric emergency center
  • Inpatient psychiatric hospitals


Graduate School


My training initially focused on psychodynamic psychotherapy, which focuses on developing insight and emotional understanding into the ways in which past experiences and significant relationships shape one's current emotional functioning, beliefs, behavior patterns, and relationships. The therapeutic relationship is an important part of this process.


I developed a specific interest, though, in the cognitive behavioral treatment of anxiety disorders while at an Anxiety Disorders Clinic with Dr. Randy Frost who is a nationally recognized expert in the areas of perfectionism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and hoarding, and Dr. Patricia DiBartolo who is an expert in treating anxiety disorders in children and adolescents who trained under Dr. David Barlow, one of the pioneers and leading experts in the cognitive-behavioral treatment of anxiety disorders.


At the clinic, I received intensive education and clinical training for two years in the use of empirically-validated treatment protocols for Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I found it invaluable to learn from experts in the field who have been practicing, teaching, and developing for many years.


Predoctoral Internship, VA Long Beach Health Care System


My focus was on behavioral medicine, which relates to the use of psychological principles to prevent and manage medical issues. I used primarily cognitive behavioral techniques to address anxiety and depression in the areas of oncology, HIV, hospice, neuropsychology, spinal cord injury, primary care, general medical inpatient care, and mental health.


I was also trained in the cognitive behavioral treatment of chronic pain, which included relaxation, meditation, and mindfulness techniques.    


Postdoctoral Fellowship, Harvard Medical School Clinical Fellow, Cambridge Health Alliance Behavioral Medicine Program


This fellowship provided extensive education and clinical training in integrating cognitive behavioral techniques with psychodynamic psychotherapy, multicultural psychology, mindfulness, relaxation, biofeedback, and hypnosis. Clinical work focused on clients 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. 


University of California, Irvine, Counseling Center, Staff Psychologist / Clinical Supervisor


My specialization was in the cognitive behavioral treatment of anxiety and stress. I ran a popular Stress Management Group, provided supervision in cognitive behavioral therapy to psychologists in training, and conducted seminars in cognitive behavioral therapy, body image, and Asian American psychology.


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.




Master of Science (M.S.), Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Clinical Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst (2001)


The clinical psychology program at UMass is based on a scientist-practitioner model and therefore involves 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. I have published my work in scientific psychology journals and as book chapters and have also presented at a variety of professional settings.


Initially, my interest in clinical psychology was purely academic, but through my training, I discovered that my personality, interests, and skills were a much better fit with clinical work. 


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), University of California, Irvine (1995)


I started my college career focused on engineering but after an introductory psychology course, I decided to pursue a field that naturally sparked my curiosity and interest. I participated in research labs in the fields of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), learning processes in children, and hearing mechanisms in adults. 


High School/Junior High, American School in Japan (1992)


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 helps make 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 solo 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, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Mexico, South Korea, Italy, Costa Rica, and Peru. I have also lived on the West Coast and the East Coast and have traveled to the states around and between these two coasts.  


These experiences have introduced me to new lands and new cultures which have broadened my understanding and appreciation 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. 


Professional Development


I continue to seek out opportunities to learn from experts in the field whether it be through podcasts, videos, readings, or trainings. I try to stay up to date on topics related to therapy practices, anxiety disorders, mindfulness, neuropsychology, medications, trauma, race, grief and loss, existential psychology, and cognitive behavioral therapy while also learning about topics outside of my practice areas so that I can maintain a well-informed, flexible approach to my work. This is also how I continue to collect relevant resources to pass on to my clients. I also continue to provide seminars and consult regularly with fellow psychologists on various clinical topics. 




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. My previous teaching experiences have been: 

  • Argosy Orange County, graduate program, adjunct professor - Cognitive Behavioral Theories and Techniqes
  • Argosy/Pepperdine, graduate program, guest lecturer - Stress Management, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Irvine Valley College, adjunct professor - Introduction to Psychology, Human Development, Abnormal Psychology
  • California State Dominguez Hills, adjunct professor - Behavioral Modification
  • Smith College, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Teaching Assistant - Introduction to Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Theories in Clinical Psychology
  • Kaplan - SAT and GRE prep courses




Writing has provided me a way to continue to be involved in academia. In addition, the topic of my writing has often focused on Asian American issues, body image, perfectionism, and cross-cultural issues as related to clinical practice, and therefore, I am able to delve into topics that inform my clinical practice. 

  • Chopra, S., & Kawamura, K.Y. (in preparation). Developmental Implications: Body image impact on developmental stages, identity, and self-esteem. In Y. Tsong & (Eds), Body Image and the Asian Experience: Asians, Asian Americans, and Asian Diasporas Across the Globe. Oxford: Elsevier. ***This chapter describes body image in the context of multiple social identities that may be relevant to Asian Americans such as racial identity, gender identity, sexual identity, and disability identity.
  • 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, 25, 291-301.
  • 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.


Reviewed research articles on perfectionism and Asian American issues for Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, and Psychological Assessment.