Hey y’all! I’m Dr. Erika Vivyan (pronouns: she/her/hers).

I am a Bilingual (Spanish-English) Licensed Psychologist in Austin, Texas.

Thank you so much for visiting my page!

My specialty is in serving children, teens, young adults, and parents.  I’m particularly interested in anxiety and stress, including the diagnosis and treatment of social anxiety disorder (social phobia), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), selective mutism (SM), separation anxiety, specific phobias (e. g., weather), trauma disorders, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  My education and experience as a school psychologist gives me a thorough understanding of Section 504 and Special Education services in schools.

Education

Before moving to Austin, I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree at Michigan State University (GO GREEN!) in East Lansing, Michigan.  I graduated with a dual major in Arts and Humanities as well as Psychology; I also completed a minor in Educational Studies.  I earned my Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees at the University of Wisconsin (ON WISCONSIN!) in Madison, Wisconsin.  I have received formal training in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), parent management training (PMT), trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT), exposure and response prevention (ERP), and parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT).

Training & Experience

I have experience working with children, teens, young adults, and parents in outpatient, school, and medical settings.  I completed an APA-accredited pre-doctoral internship at the Texas Child Study Center and Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin, Texas.  I also completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Austin Child Guidance Center, where I served English- and Spanish-speaking clients by conducting psychoeducational evaluations and providing therapy for a wide range of presenting concerns.

Personal Interests

I am a BIG health and wellness fanatic – I love teaching fitness and dance classes all around Austin.  My favorite place to be is walking, running, or kayaking along Town Lake with my little rescue mutt (& parvo survivor!) named Zadie.  I also love exploring Austin’s restaurants and live music venues with friends and family.

Panel 1

CONTACT

I am currently accepting new therapy and assessment clients at Austin Anxiety & OCD Specialists at our Westlake Hills therapy office M-Th 12 pm – 8 pm. I am excited to be accepting Blue Cross Blue Shield and Lyra starting in 2020! For more information or to schedule an appointment please call (512) 246-7225 or email the practice at hello@austinanxiety.com. I look forward to working with you!

For more content, follow me on Instagram! @drvivyan

Panel 2 Placeholder
Panel 3

THERAPY

I strive to use an ecological, developmental, and culturally sensitive approach to working with all of my clients.  In other words, I utilize a person’s entire environment (home, school, and work) to make therapeutic change. I also consider the client’s age and developmental level when deciding on appropriate intervention techniques. Finally (and most importantly in my journey towards social justice) I pride myself on making all possible cultural considerations when working with clients and their families. Gender identity, religious/spiritual beliefs, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic class, sexual orientation, and national origin are all areas of difference that I hold space for and acknowledge in my practice.

I am also dedicated to using evidence-based interventions for each presenting concern, and I work with my clients to modify therapeutic strategies to best fit their individual needs.  I integrate cognitive behavioral therapy, behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention, and parent management training in my therapeutic work. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is the “gold standard” of treatment for some of the most common presenting problems, including anxious and depressive symptoms. The main idea in CBT is that a person’s cognitions (or thoughts) and behaviors (or actions) create their feelings and their reality. By helping clients understand and change their cognititions and behaviors, their negative emotions (such as anxiety and depression) can be dramatically reduced.

Behavioral Therapy

Behaviorists, in the psychology world, attempt to understand and change human behavior. For many clients who experience anxiety and/or behavior difficulties, I like to incorporate behavioral strategies such as positive reinforcement to make improvements in symptoms. Many children who present with Selective Mutism (SM) do well with behavioral strategies that motivate and reward their speech.

Exposure and REsponse PRevention

Exposure and response prevention is a critical component of treatment for anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Essentially, a client is exposed to something that causes discomfort (e.g., a social interaction in social phobia). Then, whatever the automatic response is (e.g., avoidance), the therapist prevents it. That is, a client with social phobia might be encouraged to remain in a social interaction for longer than is typically comfortable. The goal is to reduce the brain’s automatic fear or stress resopnse in harmless situations so that the client can gain control of their behavior and emotional response in whatever situation.

Parent Management Training

Parent management training is an extension of behavioral therapy that allows parents and guardians to change the behavior of their children. Key components include positive reinforcent, parental attention, rewards, and privileges. I also guide parents in using an effective time-out strategy. Since I have training in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), I also use a lot of these concepts in my work.

What Next? 

If you’re interested in starting the journey through therapy, please call Austin Anxiety & OCD Specialists at 512-246-7225. I have availability for appointments on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays between the hours of 12:00 pm pm and 8:00 pm. I am currently accepting private pay (using FSA/HSA funds or personal credit cards), Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Lyra.

Panel 4

ASSESSMENT

I offer assessment services for children, teens, and young adults to determine psychological diagnoses and recommendations for treatment. Often, families come in with a specific question such as, “Does my child have attention problems?” or “Why is my teen always angry?” With the use of clinical interviews, standardized assessments, questionnaires, and behavioral observations, I am able to provide a complete report detailing a person’s strengths and weaknesses.

what is psychological assessment?

A psychological assessment is often a critical component of one’s journey toward mental well-being.  These evaluations provide information about a person’s cognitive, academic, executive, social, and emotional functioning.  Psychological assessments are frequently used to evaluate for diagnoses such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Specific Learning Disability (SLD), or even to differentiate between different types of anxiety disorders.  

What are the Benefits?

Psychological assessments are often a key that opens doors to multiple avenues of psychological treatment. This might include access to Section 504 or Special Education services at school, therapy, counseling, or psychiatric medication. These assessments are a great way to know more about what’s going on with a person’s brain, including their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.

What are the steps involved in assessment?

STep 1 – Intake

The first step in a psychological assessment to complete intake paperwork. In any setting, it is useful for the evaluator to understand why you are requesting a psychological assessment and what diagnosis/es you might be concerned about. This paperwork is critical in helping me to know what questions to ask during the clinical interview.

The first appointment is a clinical interview or intake session, where I will ask questions about the problems or symptoms that you would like to be evaluated. This appointment always includes parents/guardians, and sometimes includes a pre-teen, teen, or young adult client. Siblings or other family members are welcome to provide input or simply play with the toys in my office! Often, I will ask why a family is seeking an assessment and what questions you would like for the assessment to address. I like to ask about specific symptoms, how long they have been happening, and in what environments/settings they are causing problems. I will also distribute questionnaires for parents and teachers (if applicable) at this appointment.

I ask for information from parents and teachers (in the form of clinical interviews and/or questionnaires) in order to measure symtoms across settings. In assessment, I aim to evaluate the full ecological system of each client. Often, psychological diagnoses require that certain symptoms appear in different settings. This allows a psychologist to rule out that the problem is linked to the environment exclusively.

step 2 – Psychological Assessment

At the next appointment, I will spend one-on-one time with the individual being evaluated. A typical assessment includes several hours completing cognitive, academic, and other tasks in order to compare the person being evaluated to others their own age. I often provide several self-report forms for the client to complete as well. This is the longest part of the psychologial evaluation, and takes a lot of brain power!

After the psychological evaluation is complete, a psychologist must score all of the measures and questionnaires. This helps compare the client’s performance and symptoms to other people their own age and developmental level. I usually take a few weeks to gather all of this informaiton and write a comprehensive report.

STep 3 – Feedback

The third and final appointment is the feedback meeting. I like to discuss the assessment results with parents and the client if they are old enough. I usually provide information about the client’s strengths and weaknesses, what diagnosis or diagnoses describe their current level of functioning, and what I recommend for next steps to improve symptoms. This is a great time to ask any questions about school-based services, outpatient therapy, home strategies, medications, or other resources.

Most families decide to share the psychological assessment report with their school, doctor, and/or other health care providers. This can assist with continuity of care, including access to services based on the report’s recommendations. When possible, I love being part of the follow-up after the report is complete!

What nexT?

If you’re interested in a psychological assessment and would like to use your health insurance coverage (including Medicare or Medicaid), please call Austin Child Guidance Center at 512-451-2242. I typically schedule intake appointments and psychological assessments on Tuesdays, but other providers are available on other days of the week.

If you’re interested in a psychological assessment and would like to use FSA/HSA money or pay privately, call Austin Anxiety & OCD Specialists at 512-246-7225. I have availability for intake appointments on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. The longer assessment appointment typically takes place on a Friday.