Clinical Conditions

Clinical Approaches

Clinical Highlights


Invited Presentations, Workshops, & Webinars

Dr. Kaiser treats patients with these
Clinical Conditions

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Generalized Anxiety

Social Anxiety

Performance Anxiety: Tests, Sports, Arts, Public Speaking

Separation Anxiety

School Avoidance/Refusal

Panic Episodes or Disorder


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Body Concerns

Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors

Picking/Biting: face, nails, body, mouth (aka Body-focused repetitive actions


Situational Stress: Acute or Chronic Stress

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Stress/Trauma related to Surgery, Procedures, and/or Hospitalization

Coping with Acute or Chronic Illness

Abrupt loss of a parent or other loved one, friends, pet, etc.

Phobias (Strong Fears):


Medical & Dental procedures

Hospitalization & Surgery

Novel/ Unfamiliar experiences

The Dark or Closed-in spaces

Dogs / Animals

Spiders/Bugs/Snakes, etc.

Planes & Other Travel

Sleep-Wake Challenges


Messed up sleep cycle (aka Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder)

Fear of sleeping alone

Loss & Death

Grief & Complex Bereavement

Abrupt Parental Loss

Dr. Kaiser has advanced training with these
Clinical Approaches

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Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

Dr. Kaiser’s expertise in CBT started with a chosen focus during her doctoral training decades ago. She remains current with this approach; she is Certified by the BTTI following a 2018-19 In-Depth Training Program in State-of-the-Art Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), taught by national top experts of the International OCD Foundation. She incorporates CBT into every patient’s treatment plan. Ample research proves CBT as the gold-standard: the best-established, strongest evidence-based treatment for childhood anxiety disorders and many other clinical issues. It focuses on identifying, understanding, and changing unhelpful thinking and behavior patterns. CBT requires patients’ determination to learn skills. Patients learn skills during therapy sessions, but they must practice repeatedly to see improvement. The goal is for these strategies to become an automatic and adaptive way of thinking and behaving throughout life.

Exposure Therapy, also called Exposure Ritual/Response Prevention (ERP)

is a form of CBT, designed to reduce fear and anxiety responses. This type of therapy is proven to be particularly effective for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and phobias. Dr. Kaiser routinely uses ERP and has successfully treated hundreds of pediatric patients with these conditions. The patient is gradually exposed to a feared situation or object, learning to become less sensitive over time. 

Solution-focused Brief Therapy

focuses on the patient’s specific goals, “preferred future”, strengths, and resources, and is grounded in a drive for resilience. It is a refreshing shift from outdated therapies concentrating on the past causes for what was ‘wrong’ with the patient. Outcome studies find this emphasis on the positive fosters patients’ independence and quicker results. Dr. Kaiser’s abundant (>25 years) training and supervision plus daily utilization of key elements of this approach was driven by her passion about fostering youth resilience and belief in nonjudgmental collaboration with patients to enhance their competence and capacity for change. As an invited speaker at the 2016 International Brief Therapy conference, her lecture topic was: Anxious Children and Teens: Solution-based strategies to promote self-regulation, a growth mindset, and psychological resilience.

Supportive Parenting for Anxious Children

is a successful parent-based treatment developed to reduce parental “accommodations” to alleviate their anxious child’s distress, e.g. repeated reassurance, co-sleeping, speaking for the child. Such parental efforts inadvertently reinforce their child’s avoidance, intensify dependence on parents, and promote the child’s lack of motivation for therapy. Because parents typically spend years engaged in accommodating their child, Dr. Kaiser routinely includes weekly parent counseling to address these and other unproductive parent-child dynamics.

Family-Systems Therapy

is a structured form of psychotherapy that seeks to reduce distress and conflict by improving the systems of interactions between family members to develop a healthier and more functional family. Dr. Kaiser continues to incorporate this systems perspective learned over a 10-year period at UCSF Medical School while co-teaching with colleagues who were leaders in this field.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dr. Kaiser’s recent comprehensive training (DBT Skills for Adolescents and Families ) was co-taught by Dr. Marsha Linehan, PhD, the designer of this approach. Patients learn the core DBT skills of Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, Interpersonal Effectiveness, and Walking the Middle Path.

Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT)

aims to increase psychological flexibility through skills needed to overcome avoidance of experiences. Dr. Kaiser teaches some students in certain situations how to incorporate some of its’ principles: acceptance of unavoidable situations of the present moment with its potential uncomfortable thoughts and feelings; self-compassion; and defusing and distancing from particular emotions.


(aka therapeutic storytelling): Dr. Kaiser’s younger patients (4-9 years old) enjoy her reading from her extensive library of short therapeutic books with characters and plots paralleling the patient’s clinical issues yet providing practical strategies and positive resolutions. The child further benefits when Dr. K. asks the moral of the story.

Play Therapy

is the therapeutic use of toys, games, and puppets chosen for specific goals with young children. It provides a connecting bridge with their therapist, fostering a sense of safety, while replicating a patient’s experiences and emotions, and the clinician interjecting adaptive ways to manage feelings and behaviors. Dr. Kaiser utilizes Directive Play Therapy when carefully selecting play materials as metaphors and as concrete examples of CBT strategies and techniques for specific symptoms. While Director of UCSF’s Infancy & Early Childhood Clinic (Behavioral & Developmental Pediatrics Unit), she used play therapy extensively with traumatized toddlers and preschoolers.

Art Therapy

offers kinesthetic, sensory, perceptual, and symbolic opportunities and invite alternative modes of receptive and expressive communication, which can circumvent the limitations of language. Visual and symbolic expression provides the child/teen an alternative avenue to express their emotions and thoughts about experiences. Dr. Kaiser taps this approach with patients who are less facile with expressing feelings verbally and when inviting patients to use visual metaphors to convey their internal experience.

Greenspan Floortime Approach

is a play-based approach to foster interaction of parents with young autistic children. In the 1980s, Dr. Kaiser trained with Dr. Stanley Greenspan, the founder of this modality. She continues to weave these principles of attunement and pacing-and-leading to enhance reciprocal communication in her work with parents and young children.

Pediatric Integrative Health: Mind-Body Approaches

“Substantial research has shown the physical and mental health benefits of biofeedback, clinical hypnosis, mindfulness, breath re-training and other mind-body practices”

Dr. Kaiser

Psycho-education:the Mind-Brain-Body connection

Dr. Kaiser draws on her knowledge as a clinical psychologist, pediatric nurse practitioner, and former childhood stress researcher to explain the science about the mind-brain-body connection to each new patient and their parents. They learn how our brain and key body organs interact reciprocally with our mind’s emotional responses, thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs. She uses drawings, stories, metaphors, and the patient’s own experiences with anxiety and stress to teach how this constant communication between mind and body includes our nervous, endocrine and immune systems that impacts our physical and mental health.

Biofeedback: Heart Rate Variability (HRV)

is a mind-body technique using a computer to measure and give visual and auditory feedback to patients about various physiological responses, such as heart rate, respiratory rate to teach people to recognize and change their own physical signs and symptoms of stress and anxiety. Research shows clear evidence that showing that adjunctive biofeedback is especially valuable for patients with high psycho-physiological reactivity, panic, and various medical conditions, e.g. headache, digestive disorders, and symptoms such as pain. Dr. Kaiser developed expertise in this technology over decades through numerous in-depth trainings taught by the top experts in this field. She teaches patients how to understand and change their own heart rate variability, a measurement of the brain-heart’s stress reactivity. Since Covid, she uses screen sharing during Zoom sessions with patients who purchase an app from the company who designed the program.

Clinical Hypnosis / Mental Imagery

Dr. Kaiser is a globally recognized expert (clinician, teacher, author) in the use of hypnosis (aka mental imagery) for children/teens with anxiety, stress, mind-body issues, and medical conditions. In 2009 she co-founded a non-profit organization to train medical and mental health professionals how to use this method with pediatric patients. She defines clinical hypnosis as a empirically-supported technique “to strengthen students’ existing or under-developed skills in self-regulation, i.e., capacities to self-monitor and modulate thinking, emotion, behavior, and psycho-physiological reactivity; use problem solving strategies; to shift attention and maintain focused attention; inhibit and control reflexive actions; and delay gratification”. Medical hypnosis is used in pediatric hospitals and clinics around the globe to divert attention during procedures, reduce sensation, transform pain, and impact the way patients experience various other symptoms.

Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction

Dr. Kaiser learned MBSR from Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, Harvard scientist and developer of Mindfulness, during a very intensive 8-day retreat training in 2009. She finds MBSR to be especially helpful for patients with past or future rumination. MBSR is a well-researched program shown to assist people with anxiety, pain, and depression. Mindfulness is the non-judgmental acceptance of present experience, including body sensations, internal thoughts, emotions, impulses and memories. It cultivates attention skills, emotion regulation, and reduces rumination and worry.

Breath Re-training and Diaphragmatic Breathing (aka Belly Breathing)

are simple techniques to regulate and control breathing for the benefit of physical, mental, and emotional health. Stressed, anxious and fearful patients have unhelpful breathing patterns, especially shallow breathing and breath-holding. Dr. Kaiser teaches all her pediatric patients a simplified version of this core strategy to address the physical aspects of anxiety, stress, medical symptoms, and trauma. She particularly values her original training from Prof. Erik Peper (Institute of Holistic Health Studies, SFSU), international authority on self-regulation, biofeedback, holistic health, stress management.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)

is a physiological relaxation technique that research has shown to help to relieve stress, anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain. Dr. Kaiser teaches this simple practice of tensing then releasing muscles groups and finds it to be particularly helpful when combining other relaxation strategies for patients who have trouble getting to sleep.

Career Highlights

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Invited Presentations, Workshops, & Webinars

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