KaMala Thomas, Ph.D.

Stress related to chronic disease or illness, Sleep Disorders, Infertility, Psychoneuroimmunology

Therapeutic Approach

I am passionate about helping clients to achieve emotional, spiritual, and physical wellness.  I believe that wellness exists on a continuum, and achieving optimal health involves working with clients to develop treatment plans that integrate relevant cultural, social, physical, and psychological factors.  My primary therapeutic orientations include cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy.  However, I consider myself eclectic and use the therapeutic techniques that best match the needs of my clients.

As a clinical health psychologist, I have been trained to work with clients who have chronic illness, helping them to manage their disease using behavioral and psychological strategies. I work with patients who have been diagnosed with cancer, heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and ulcerative colitis to name a few.  I am very comfortable collaborating with physicians, dieticians, and other healthcare providers to develop treatment plans that are in the best interest of my clients.  My areas of clinical expertise include Mood and Anxiety Disorders, Women’s Issues, Infertility, Caregiving, Coping with Grief and Loss, Sleep or Insomnia, Spirituality, Life Coaching, and Psycho-Oncology.

In addition to being a psychotherapist, I am an assistant professor at Pitzer College, which is a member of the Claremont University Consortium in Southern California.  I teach courses in clinical and health psychology and conduct research in the field of psychoneuroimmunology, which focuses on interactions between psychological factors, the nervous systems, and the immune system.  Within this field, my research seeks to understand the impact of stress on physical health outcomes.  I have published a number of studies in this area and currently serve as a panel expert in the American Psychological Association’s stress and health disparities working group.  My most recent research has focused on psychosocial factors associated with health outcomes and quality of life in prostate cancer patients and their partners.  As a chronic stress model, I am investigating the impact of this experience on sleep outcomes, depressive symptoms, and immune activity.

Outside of my work, I love to cook, watch movies, write poetry, and listen to music.  In recent years, I have become especially interested in using the creative arts as a therapeutic tool.

Educational and Experience

I obtained my PhD in Clinical Health Psychology from the UC San Diego/San Diego State University joint doctoral program in 2007.  While working toward my doctoral degree, I gained experience in various clinical settings, including the UCSD Veterans Hospital Behavioral Medicine Clinic and the UCSD Sleep Disorders Clinic.  Prior to obtaining my doctoral degree, I completed a one year predoctoral internship at the Neuropsychiatric Institute at UCLA.  I also completed a two year postdoctoral fellowship at the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology.  I am a professional member of the American Psychological Association and the American Psychosomatic Society.



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CA License # PSY27371