VCU Psychology Department

Do physicians’ racial biases affect clinical decision making?

Research has demonstrated that automatic, and sometimes unconscious, racial bias can affect how we make decisions about others. But can it influence something as important as a medical decision? read more...


What affects parenting in high-risk communities?

We know that living in high-risk communities is stressful for parents and youth. How does stress, including exposure to violence, affect parents’ management of their adolescents? read more...


How can we predict future rates of tobacco use?

Longitudinal population-based surveys of tobacco use can depict current prevalence levels as well as transitions over time, but how can they be used to forecast those in the future? read more...


Can coping skills help the bereaved bend but not break?

How do college students cope when a loved one dies? Bereavement is difficult at any time in life, but is coping with bereavement different for college undergraduates? read more...

school lunch

Why are VCU researchers dumpster diving?

If school cafeterias force children to take fruits and vegetables on their lunch trays, will students eat them? Will they like them more over time when fruits and vegetables are served regularly? read more...


Dr. Victoria Shivy

Associate Professor (tenured)

Counseling Psychology


PhD (1994), University at Albany, State University of New York

Licensed Psychologist, Virginia (Clinical) and New York

Contact Information

Phone: 804-828-0294

Office: 808 W Franklin, rm 213


Research Interests

I study the role that work plays in peoples' lives: how people decide on which career and educational paths they’ll pursue, and how individuals respond to a range of career-related events and experiences, with a particular focus on the socioemotional aspects of work. I design ways to help traditionally underserved populations enter, adjust to, and thrive in workplace settings [i.e., first-generation college students; underrepresented minority students; people from lower SES backgrounds; and, those who have spent time in prison]; so, sometimes I find myself at the intersection of health and vocational psychology, as in exploring how trauma can impact career choice and adjustment. A more recent emphasis is exploring how and where students in the biomedical sciences find support –the emotional, material, informational, and social companionship supports that facilitates their training and entry into the working world. This line of research uses a social network analysis approach.

I like that my unit is housed within a Department of Psychology. The subspecialty of vocational psychology is assessment and measurement-oriented. Hence, these activities figure prominently in my research, teaching, and practice. Work and career issues, as well, blend nicely with approaches seen in social, clinical, and developmental psychology. With regard to clinical practice, I am a generalist.  My practice goes well beyond the career-related concerns. Finally, I love to teach – especially when I am able to offer students service learning and community engagement opportunities. For several years I’ve taken undergraduate students into the outdoors (the James River Park System in Richmond) working with community partners to study how humans interact with their natural environment.

Selected Publications

Shivy, V. A., & Guion, D. B. (2012). Forensics and the legal system. In N. A. Fouad (Ed.), APA handbook of counseling psychology: Vol. 2. Practice, interventions, and applications. Washington DC: APA.

Shivy, V. A. (in press). Trauma, identity, and the workplace. In C. R. Figley (Ed.), Encyclopedia of trauma. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Shivy, V. A., & Guion, D. (in press). Trauma and incarceration. In C. R. Figley (Ed.),
Encyclopedia of trauma. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Shivy, V. A., & Guion, D. (in press). Childhood trauma and the juvenile justice system. In C. R. Figley (Ed.), Encyclopedia of trauma. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Shivy, V. A., Wu, J., Moon, A. E., Mann, S., Holland, J., & Eacho, C. (2007). Ex-offenders reentering the workforce. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 54, 466-473.

Recent Courses
Recent Grants

Pixie's Pen Pals: A Program for Virginia's Inmates. July 2011-June 2012. Studies the outcomes associated with pairing rescued shelter dogs with inmates serving time in Virginia Correctional facilities. $20,000.

INTUIT: Work and Careers. July 2000-June 2010. Virginia Department of Correctional Education. $305,940.