View of San Fransicso from the water
Co-workers meeting in the hallway


Director of Training: Sloan Norman, Ph.D.


At the San Francisco Chronic Pain Management Center, we offer one full-time postdoctoral residency position.


San Francisco

Kaiser San Francisco Chronic Pain Department is located in the heart of San Francisco. San Francisco has much to offer to its residents. The city is cherished for its proximity to the bay, its varied and beautiful architecture, world class restaurants and plentiful eateries, diverse neighborhoods, and of course, the Golden Gate Bridge. Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe and the foothills of the Sierra Nevada are all just a few hours away.

Patient Population

The Chronic Pain Department is appropriate for all adult patients with benign physical pain for whom medical and diagnostic interventions have been limited or unsuccessful. All patients are Kaiser Health Plan members and represent a broad ethnic, cultural and socioeconomic spectrum.

The Staff

The Chronic Pain Department is staffed by a multidisciplinary team of many service providers including physicians, nurses, psychologists, social workers, physical therapists, acupuncturists, a pharmacist, and one postdoctoral resident, along with case managers and support staff. Chronic pain is a difficult and complex problem and, often, no one discipline can provide an adequate answer. A multidisciplinary approach, combining the unique contributions of health psychology, medicine, physical therapy and other interventions, has been proven to provide much more effective treatment to most patients than any one of these disciplines, alone. The members of the psychology staff represent a variety of theoretical orientations including psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral and psychophysiological.


Services within the Chronic Pain Department fall into four main categories – evaluation, medical intervention, behavioral and psychological therapies, and physical reconditioning.

  1. 1) Evaluation: Most patients complete a multidisciplinary evaluation by a physician, a physical therapist, and a health psychologist to determine their individual needs.
  2. 2) Medical Intervention: Our physician is trained and practiced in state-of-the-art medical therapy for chronic pain.
  3. 3) Behavioral and Psychological Therapies: Our behavioral team provides powerful tools to enable patients to manage pain and improve quality of life. The program offers many different treatment groups, at varying levels of intensity, as well as individual and some family counseling, biofeedback, and an ongoing program for follow-up and patient support. Our resident is involved in providing individual treatment as well group treatment, as mentioned above. 
  4. 4) Physical Reconditioning: Using both traditional and non-traditional approaches, physical therapists help chronic pain patients to regain ease of movement, strength, flexibility, coordination, and balance.


General Principles

Kaiser San Francisco Chronic Pain Department has been involved in postdoctoral training since 1995. The emphasis of our training program is on supporting new professionals in their transition from internship to licensure. Individual and group supervision as well as mentoring to support the development of the postdoctoral resident’s professional identity is core to the residency experience. Postdoctoral residents participate fully in staff meetings and patient rounds and are involved in many of the department’s work teams and committees.

The postdoctoral program is designed to support postdoctoral residents in developing their practice competencies and expertise, based upon professional best practices and sound clinical practice guidelines. The training integrates clinical, scientific, and ethical knowledge to foster the development of attitudes and skills that are proven to be the most effective for treating individuals with chronic benign pain and psychological co-morbidities. The training experience has a strong clinical focus.

Residents are required to complete four psycho-diagnostic assessments throughout the course of the training year.  In addition, residents must complete a research project as part of their residency. 


The Chronic Pain Department adheres to the supervision requirements as outlined in the Board of Psychology Guidelines. The resident receives at least three hours of regularly scheduled individual supervision and one hour of group supervision/case conference, as a resident of the West Bay Consortium. Selection of cases and size of caseload is carefully adjusted to the resident's readiness and training needs as determined by his/her supervisor.


All West Bay Consortium residents attend weekly 2-hour seminars that cover various topics, including chemical dependency treatment, psychological and neuropsychological assessment and treatment, chronic pain, various therapy modalities including CBT, DBT, schema and narrative therapies, and issues related to the treatment of children and families. Furthermore, all residents from across the Northern California region gather regularly in Oakland for regional seminars that often focus on Best Practice Guidelines and a diversity of other topics including ethics, diversity, integrated care models, and professional development. Our Chronic Pain resident also receives training in biofeedback as part of his/her residency experience.


The training directors and primary supervisors are responsible for completing the resident’s Competencies Evaluations in collaboration with the rest of the training staff. All efforts are made to provide ongoing feedback to residents throughout the year. Residents also have opportunities to evaluate the program twice a year.





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