pastel by PattyRice,

About Dr. McMahon

Elizabeth McMahon
I am a clinical psychologist with over 30 years of experience helping people find relief from anxiety, fear, insomnia, or stress (see Anxiety Treatment), and those who want to become happier or more resilient (see Positive Psychology Skills). I can work with you to overcome anxiety, panic, fears, or phobias, or increase personal happiness and effectiveness.

My Treatment Approach

My practice emphasizes brief effective therapy using a variety of evidence-based techniques with proven effectiveness. For example, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Positive Psychology, and Virtual Reality Therapy specifically for treating fears or phobias. You may also learn self-hypnosis, relaxation, visualization, stress management, mindfulness, or other skills.

I sometimes use hypnosis for therapy (hypnotherapy) and I teach hypnosis and self-hypnosis. I have been certified as an Approved Consultant by the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH) based on my advanced training and extensive experience with clinical hypnosis. 

Office Location

Located in a Victorian building, my office offers a quiet, private, professional environment for our work together at 2925 Webster Street. The office is just north of Union Street in the Cow Hollow area of San Francisco, convenient to Pacific Heights and the Marina district.

To get here by bus (SF Muni): take the 41 or 45 on Union Street, the 22 on Fillmore Street, 28 or 43 on Lombard Street, or the 30 on Chestnut Street.

Street parking in this area is metered (9 AM to 6 PM every day) or limited to two hours without an area K permit (8 AM to 6 PM weekdays). Nearby parking garages include the Lombard Street Garage (enter via Moulton Alley from Webster Street), 2001 Union Garage, and the Union/Laguna Garage.


  • B.A. in Psychology, Earlham College
  • M.A. in Psychology, Case Western Reserve University
  • Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, University of Virginia Medical Center
  • Ph.D. in Psychology, Case Western Reserve University
  • Post-Doctoral Residency, Sheppard-Pratt Psychiatric Hospital
  • California Psychologist License PSY 6737

Professional Memberships: 

  • American Psychological Association
  • Anxiety and Depression Association of America
  • California Psychological Association
  • San Francisco Psychological Association, Past Chair of Speakers Bureau and Public Education

Experience & Awards: 

  • Voted Most Valuable Psychologist, Kaiser Fremont Psychiatry
  • Outstanding Innovator Award, Kaiser Greater Southern Alameda Area
  • Created the Kaiser Health Education class on Managing Anxiety
  • Best Practices Champion for Anxiety Disorders for Kaiser Psychiatry
  • Helped develop Kaiser Psychiatry Best Practices for panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Helped write and administer California psychology licensing examinations
  • Past Training Director, Post-Doctoral Psychology Fellowship program, Kaiser Fremont Psychiatry
  • Past President, San Francisco Academy of Hypnosis


My background includes 32 years at Kaiser Permanente providing individual and group psychotherapy to thousands of patients for a variety of different issues. While at Kaiser I:

  • Taught self-hypnosis
  • Created therapy groups for panic and anxiety, for increasing happiness, and other issues
  • Introduced virtual reality therapy for phobias (fear of public speaking, fear of flying, fear of heights)
  • Supervised and trained post-doctoral psychology residents
  • Lectured extensively on hypnosis, happiness, anxiety, and other topics
  • Wrote books and articles

Media Appearances:

I have been interviewed about:

  • Hypnosis (hypnotherapy)
  • Virtual Reality Therapy for Fear of Flying, Fear of Heights, and Fear of Public Speaking
  • Protecting your Mental Health During Tough Economic Times
  • Coping with the Stresses of Lymphedema

Interviews have appeared in: Fremont Argus, In the Flow, InsideKP NCal, Lymph Link, Lymphedema Matters, The New Fillmore, Oakland Tribune, Oncology Nursing Forum, Pathways, Psychologie Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, and San Jose Mercury News. Television interviews have aired on KGO Channel 7 ABC News and Mental Health Matters. 

Hear my panel presentation about "Healing with VR" on youtube:  at timepoints 8:51, 17:19, 23:55, 31:38, 38:15, 52:55, 1:01, 1:03, and 1:15-16:40.

Curious about how Virtual Reality (VR) can be used in therapy? Listen to the April 12, 2019 blog episode of "Crazed" as Matt Vogl and Debra Boeldt, PhD, of the National Mental Health Innovation Center of the University of Colorado, interview me on using VR to help clients overcome anxiety disorders, especially fears and phobias.

For More Information:

I can also be found on LinkedInAmerican Psychological Association, California Psychological Association, San Francisco Psychological AssociationSociety of Psychological, and the San Francisco Psychological Association facebook page.

Call me at 1-415-625-3565 to discuss how we can work together or Contact Dr. McMahon.