About Kathleen Phelps, LCSW

My interest in working in the field of mental health started early for me, and I was fortunate enough to follow up this passion with both an undergraduate and graduate degree.  I did my first graduate program internship at a psychiatric intensive outpatient program attached to a local hospital.  My final year’s internship was at a large HMO’s department of outpatient psychiatry and addiction medicine, where I was later hired and worked for 16 years.

Throughout the years as a counselor, I have worked with a large variety of clients with varying diagnoses and acuity levels.  Working with clients in an intensive outpatient setting, as a case manager, and in an outpatient psychiatric setting, I have been able to assess, diagnose and treat a vast number of clients to help them manage or alleviate their symptoms. Eating disorders, health issues, chronic pain and complex trauma histories have made up a majority of my work, along with the often severe depression and anxiety that unfortunately accompanies these disorders.  I have the unique experience as a counselor of working with multidisciplinary teams to help clients, which not only include mental health providers (therapists, psychiatrists, case managers and psychiatric nurses), but also includes medical doctors and nurses in a wide variety of specialties.  Additionally, I am a current faculty member in the School of Social Work at San Diego State University where I am honored to teach clinical skills to undergraduate and graduate students for use in their field placements.

I find the best modalities to increase positive coping skills and lay a foundation for possible trauma work are both Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy.  Teaching clients how to challenge cognitive distortions, set boundaries, increase their self care and learn how to utilize mindfulness and grounding when they are triggered is crucial no matter the presenting issue.  When you have chronic pain or are struggling with a mental or physical illness, being able to manage your symptoms can be the difference of being able to do routine things during your day and feeling completely debilitated.  Additionally, research studies show that EMDR has been helpful in managing chronic pain as well as reprocessing negative memories that might be associated with the onset of the physical symptoms.  Often too, emotional issues (like increased stress), can exacerbate any physical pain or discomfort, and EMDR can help to restore some of the mind-body balance that can increase feelings of happiness and connectedness.  I find my work with EMDR invaluable for both mental health and physical health issues.

EMDR Consultation For Therapists

As a clinical supervisor, I have spent 25+ years guiding and teaching newer clinicians how to develop confidence and competence working with their clients.  I have been told by previous students and supervisees that my patience, knowledge and non-judgmental guidance have been invaluable for their learning experiences in supervision.

I train therapists in EMDR working with the EMDR Trauma Recovery Humanitarian Assistance Program (EMDR TR HAP) as a facilitator.  Also, I serve as the current San Diego EMDR Regional Co-Coordinator. I am actively involved in other providers learning as much as they can about EMDR, including the basics as well as newer protocols.  As a Certified EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) Therapist and EMDRIA Approved Consultant, I provide guidance with case conceptualization for complex clients, and I help consultees understand next steps in using the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) Model.  Having completed the Basic Trainings, I have gained a higher level of knowledge in EMDR by continuing my journey all the way through being an Approved Consultant.  I have attended many specialized trainings on different protocols for EMDR, including working with chronic pain and health issues, grief and loss, working with dissociative clients, and multiple other trauma-based trainings.  I believe in the effectiveness of using EMDR as a therapy to help clients with trauma histories (complex, chronic or single event), and strongly recommended other therapists get certified in this modality.

My Education & Experience


  • Bachelor of Arts, Psychology from University of California, San Diego, 1993
  • Master of Social Work from San Diego State University, 1997
  • Licensed in Clinical Social Work from California’s Board of Behavioral Sciences, 2000 (LCS20058)

Teaching Experience

  • Lecturer and Field Faculty Liaison, San Diego State University, School of Social Work (2014-present)
  • Area Chair and Lead Faculty, Psychology Program, University of Phoenix (2006-2017)


  • EMDR Trauma Recovery Humanitarian Assistance Program (EMDR TR HAP, 2021-present)
  • EMDR Readiness Academy Basic Trainings (2019-20)
  • San Diego Regional EMDR Network Co-Coordinator (2020-present)


  • Certified EMDRIA Approved Consultant (20 hours consultation)
  • Certified Therapist in EMDR, EMDRIA (40 training hours + 30 hours consultation)
  • Certified in the Program in Traumatic Stress Studies, The Trauma Center at JRI (8-month training)
  • Certified in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Behavioral Tech: The Linehan Institute Training Company (24 hours)

Additional Trainings

Pain and Other Medical Issues

  • From Trauma to Triumph: Cultural Resilience of People with Disabilities (1.5 hours)
  • Integrating the Attachment System and AIP Model for Chronic Health Syndromes (3 hours)
  • EMDR Therapy with Medical and Somatic Conditions (14 hours)
  • Pain Management and the Psychosocial Worker: What You Should Know (3 hours)
  • Psychosocial Oncology (3 hours)
  • Addiction Free Pain Management (3 hours)
  • Mood Disorders in Perimenopause (3 hours)
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia and Regional Pain (6 hours)
  • Mood Disorders During Pregnancy and Lactation: Treatment Issues (3 hours)
  • Emotional Disorder, Pain, Addiction and Traditional Chinese Medicine (3 hours)
  • Brain Fitness After Age 30 (6 hours)

Treatment Modalities

  • EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) Basic Training (40 training hours + 10 hours consultation)
  • Evidence Based Treatment in Psychiatric Settings (6 hours)
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder with Behavioral Technology Transfer Group (11 hours)
  • Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Mindfulness Therapies (6 hours)
  • What is Different About Solution-Focused Practice: Attitudes, Methods and Research (3 hours)
  • Incorporating Mindfulness into Your Everyday Clinical Work (3 hours)
  • Solution Focused Brief Therapy (6 hours)
  • Brain Based Therapy with John Norcross (6 hours)
  • Brain Based Therapy Update with John Norcross (6 hours)Experiential Treatment Approaches (3 hours)
  • Tailoring the Therapeutic Relationship to the Individual Patient: Evidence Based Practices (6 hours)
  • Solution Focused Therapy and Decisional Therapy: Techniques You Can Use Today (3 hours)
  • Motivational Interviewing: Tools for Eliciting Behavior Change in Challenging Patients (6 hours)
  • Implications of Attachment Theory and Research for Assessment and Psychotherapy (3 hours)

Trauma and Crisis Interventions

  • Integrating Motivational Interviewing and EMDR Treatment (1.5 hours)
  • EMDR and Dissociation: Past, Present and Future (1.5 hours)
  • Getting Ventral with Polyvagal Theory in EMDR Therapy (3 hours)
  • EMDR Treatment of Complex PTSD (1.5 hours)
  • Healing Racial Trauma with Somatic EMDR Therapy (1.5 hours)
  • EMDR Therapy for Complex PTSD: An Integrative Approach to Treating Clients (3 hours)
  • Secondary Trauma and EMDR Therapy: Implications for Clinicians (3 hours)
  • Sex Therapy and EMDR Treatment (1.5 hours)
  • Contemporary Cultural Humility in EMDR Treatment (1.5 hours)
  • Working with Dissociative Clients During the Pandemic: Adjusting to a New Reality with Dolores Mosquera and Kathy Steele (2 hours)
  • Treating Dissociative Phobias and the Art of Time Orientation with Kathleen Martin (4 hours)
  • Fraser's Dissociative Table Technique: When and How to Use it to Identify and Heal Emotional Parts of the Personality with Kathleen Martin (4 hours)
  • Treating Complex Trauma with EMDR and Structural Dissociation Theory: A Practical Approach with Kathleen Martin (4 hours)
  • Treating Dissociative Disorders with EMDR Therapy with Dolores Mosquera (13 hours)
  • Dissociation of the Personality and the EMDR Treatment of Chronic Traumatization with Onno Van Der Hart and Dolores Mosquera (13 hours)
  • Dealing with Pandora’s Box: The Therapeutic Relationship as a Model for Fostering Collaboration Among Dissociative Parts in Clients with Complex Trauma Related Disorders with Onno Van Der Hart (6 hours)
  • EMDR Readiness Course with Susie Morgan (6.5 hours)
  • Treating Families in Perpetual Crisis (6 hours)
  • Suicide: What Therapists Need to Know (6 hours)
  • Process Addictions (6 hours)
  • Lifting the Fog: Introduction to Complicated Grief Treatment (6 hours)
  • Seeking Safety:  An Evidence-Based Practice for Trauma and/or Substance Abuse (6 hours)
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Chronically Suicidal Borderline Patients (6 hours)
  • Staff Managing Assaultive Behavior (8 hours)
  • Non-Violent Crisis Intervention (3 hours)
  • Preparing Dysregulated, Dissociative, Attachment-Wounded Clients for EMDR (3 hours)
  • We Are Interconnected: Living Into the Wholeness of Life (1.5 hours)
  • EEI Series: Early Intervention Panel (1.5 hours)
  • Therapeutic Challenges in the Application of EMDR Therapy to Complex Trauma Cases (1.5 hours)
  • EMDR Therapy and Sexual Health (3 hours)
  • Culturally Based Trauma and Adversity: Recognition, Definition, and Implications (3 hours)
  • Treating Chronic Shame in Complex Trauma (6 hours)

Assessment, Diagnosing and Treatment Planning

  • Diagnosing and Treatment Planning: A Clinical Update (6 hours)
  • DSM-5 (6 hours)
  • DSM-5: Update (6 hours)
  • DSM-5: A Comprehensive Overview (10 hours)
  • Shifting Cultural Lenses in Clinical Practice (6 hours)
  • On Playing a Poor Hand Well: Lessons from Those Who Beat the Odds (3 hours)
  • Behavioral Healthcare Symposium (6 hours)
  • Helping the Difficult Patient- Transforming Therapeutic Failure into Success, Parts 1 & 2  (14 hours)
  • Psychiatric Medication Update: Antipsychotics and Mood Stabilizers (6 hours)
  • San Diego’s Response to Domestic Violence: The Family Justice Center and the Laws You Need to Know (3 hours)
  • A Model for Treatment of Depression in Primary Care (3 hours)
  • Culturally Responsive Care: Basics of Mental Health Providers (3 hours)
  • Understanding and Treating Self Injury, Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Clinical Approach to Diagnosis and Management (6 hours)

Diagnosis Specific Trainings

  • Antisocial, Borderline, Narcissistic and Histrionic: Effective Treatment for Cluster B Personality Disorders (6 hours)
  • Treatment of OCD Across the Lifespan (3 hours)
  • Selected Topics in Geropsychiatry (6 hours)
  • OC Spectrum Disorders: Breaking the Silence and Finding Solutions (1 hour)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Assessment and Treatment (6 hours)
  • Treatment of Bipolar Disorder: Collaborating with the Family (6 hours)
  • Family Focused Therapy for Persons with Bipolar Disorders (6 hours)
  • “Less-Than-Manic” Bipolarity in Clinical Practice and Everyday Life (3 hours)
  • Schizophrenia: Myths and Realities (3 hours)
  • The Vicissitudes of Attachment: Understanding Variations in Course and Treatment in Borderline Personality Disorder (3 hours)
  • Brief Treatment for Anxiety Disorders (12 hours)
  • An Overview of Impulse Control Disorders: Diagnosis and Management (6 hours)

Eating Disorders and Related Issues

  • EMDR with Eating Disorders & Sexual Shame (3 hours)
  • Obesity, Compulsive Eating and Body Image: Creating Positive Change (6 hours)
  • Re-Inventing Mid-Life: Sleep, Aging, and Overeating (6 hours)
  • Living Free:  Eating Disordered Patients Find Their Identity (2.5 hours)
  • Food, Addictions, Overeating and Mood Swings (6 hours)
  • Learning and Applying New Skills to Treat the Most Difficult Eating Disorders: Translating Cutting Edge Eating Disorder Research into Innovative Treatment Approaches (6 hours)
  • Innovations in Medications and Treatment of Eating Disorders (3 hours)
  • A Comprehensive Educational Program for Eating Disorder (3 hours)

Supervision and Consultation

  • Supervisor’s Training Certification Program (15 hours)
  • AAMFT: Supervision in Marriage and Family Therapy (30 hours)
  • Supervision: A Guide for Mental Health Professionals (12 hours)
  • Clinical Supervision, Legal, Ethical, and Risk Management Issues (7 hours)
  • Differential Strategies of Supervision and Parallel Process in Field Instruction and Training (3 hours)
  • Process Recordings, Direct Administration, Educational Based Recordings, and Teaching Methods (3 hours)
  • The 12 Grand Challenges Facing Social Work in the Next 10 Years (1 hour)
  • Learning Styles: Assessment and Development of Learning Plans (3 hours)
  • Caring for the Caregiver (3 hours)
  • Understanding and Using Your Countertransference (3 hours)
  • Practice Interviews and Interview Process (3 hours)
  • Principles and Practices of Clinical Supervision: The Basics (6 hours)
  • Supervision Training (6 hours)
  • How To Succeed as an EMDRIA Consultant-In-Training and Approved Consultant (1.5 hours)