A photo of Sara Williams.

Pediatric Psychologist, Clinical, Behavioral Medicine & Clinical Psychology

Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics


My Biography & Research


As a pediatric pain psychologist, I specialize in the assessment and treatment of pediatric chronic pain. I help outpatients with pain management and inpatients with chronic pain rehabilitation. I am the clinical director of the Functional Independence Restoration Program, and I also practice as a pain psychologist in the Headache Center and Pain Management Clinic.

I was inspired to be a pediatric psychologist when I volunteered in a children's hospital playroom as a college undergraduate and realized how many fun and unique ways there are to support children undergoing medical treatment.

In my practice, I use a patient-centered approach that helps children understand their pain condition and learn strategies to help them become independent and functional. I find that my patients and their families appreciate my balance of calmness with humor.

In addition to my practice, I love teaching our residents and fellows about psychology. I was honored to receive the Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology’s Teaching Award in 2017. I’m also involved in research into how to improve pain management techniques for children, teens and their families.

When I’m not at work, I enjoy spending time with my pets, traveling and writing books!

Clinical Interests

Pediatric chronic pain; pediatric psychology; cognitive behavioral therapy

Research Interests

Psychosocial factors affecting pediatric chronic pain; parent-child interaction


Academic Affiliation

Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics


Behavioral Medicine, Pain Management, Headache Medicine, Clinical Psychology

My Locations

My Education

PhD: Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, 2007.

Internship: University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, 2006-2007.

Fellowship: Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, 2008-2010.

Certification: Licensed Clinical Psychologist.

My Publications

The Impact of Spatial Distribution of Pain on Long-Term Trajectories for Chronic Pain Outcomes after Intensive Interdisciplinary Pain Treatment. Williams, SE; Homan, KJ; Crowley, SL; Pruitt, DW; Collins, AB; Deet, ET; Samuel, ND; John, A; Banner, K; Rose, JB. Clinical Journal of Pain. 2020; 36:181-188.

Complementary Parent Components for Pediatric Pain Families: Innovations in Treatment. Russell, BS; Guite, JW; Homan, KJ; Tepe, RM; Williams, SE. Children. 2020; 7:4-4.

Parenting in the Context of Children's Chronic Pain: Balancing Care and Burden. Guite, JW; Russell, BS; Homan, KJ; Tepe, RM; Williams, SE. Children. 2018; 5:161-161.

Pilot Randomized Trial of Integrated Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Neuromuscular Training for Juvenile Fibromyalgia: The FIT Teens Program. Kashikar-Zuck, S; Black, WR; Pfeiffer, M; Peugh, J; Williams, SE; Ting, TV; Thomas, S; Kitchen, K; Myer, GD. Journal of Pain. 2018; 19:1049-1062.

Parent Attributions of Ambiguous Symptoms in Their Children: A Preliminary Measure Validation in Parents of Children with Chronic Pain. Heathcote, LC; Williams, SE; Smith, AM; Sieberg, CB; Simons, LE. Children. 2018; 5:76-76.

Pros and cons of social interaction during intensive pediatric pain treatment. Williams, SE; Wallace, DP. 2017; 19:31-37.

Disaccharidase Deficiencies in Children With Chronic Abdominal Pain. El-Chammas, K; Williams, SE; Miranda, A. Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. 2017; 41:463-469.

Preliminary Outcomes of a Cross-Site Cognitive-Behavioral and Neuromuscular Integrative Training Intervention for Juvenile Fibromyalgia. Tran, ST; Guite, JW; Pantaleao, A; Pfeiffer, M; Myer, GD; Sil, S; Thomas, SM; Ting, TV; Williams, SE; Edelheit, B; et al. Arthritis Care and Research. 2017; 69:413-420.

A pilot study of biomechanical assessment before and after an integrative training program for adolescents with juvenile fibromyalgia. Tran, ST; Thomas, S; DiCesare, C; Pfeiffer, M; Sil, S; Ting, TV; Williams, SE; Myer, GD; Kashikar-Zuck, S. Pediatric Rheumatology Online Journal. 2016; 14.

A Qualitative Examination of a New Combined Cognitive-Behavioral and Neuromuscular Training Intervention for Juvenile Fibromyalgia. Kashikar-Zuck, S; Tran, ST; Barnett, K; Bromberg, MH; Strotman, D; Sil, S; Thomas, SM; Joffe, N; Ting, TV; Williams, SE; et al. Clinical Journal of Pain. 2016; 32:70-81.