Clinical Director, PSY 23700
“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”
Hello! I’m Dr. Kawa, but your child will call me Allison (because when I introduce myself as Dr. Kawa, about 50% of the time I get asked whether I’m giving a shot, and that’s just no way to start off a session). I am a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in the evaluation of children, adolescents, and emerging adults. My approach to assessment is informed by decades of work with individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders, formal training in object-relations theory, and cutting-edge research in the field of interpersonal neurobiology. I’m also lucky to be the mother of two of the most incredible people on the planet. Becoming a mother has profoundly changed my work as a psychologist in numerous and sometimes unexpected ways. My children are sources of infinite joy as well as constant reminders that parenthood is an epic challenge, even for psychologists.
My journey as a psychologist began in high school following a fender-bender with my dad’s car. I took on an after-school babysitting job to pay for the repairs, and one of the kids I was watching had autism. I quickly transitioned from babysitter to behavioral therapist for that little guy, and I spent the next ten years working with children with developmental delays. As part of that work, I participated on numerous multidisciplinary teams, which gave me exposure to diagnostic and intervention principles in areas like speech and language, audiology, and occupational therapy. My pre-doctoral training was conducted at the UCLA Autism Evaluation Clinic (AEC) where I acquired extensive training in the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders and a variety of other developmental disorders. Following my training, I worked as a Staff Psychologist at the UCLA AEC while concurrently completing my post-doctoral fellowship.
Bachelors of Arts (B.A.) in Psychology, University of California at Los Angeles
Masters of Arts (M.A.) in Psychology, Pepperdine University
Doctorate of Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) at the California Graduate Institute