The WVU Athletics Clinical and Sport Psychology team provides mental health counseling and performance enhancement training to individual student-athletes and teams. Additionally, the Clinical and Sport Psychology team offers student-athlete support groups and prevention and wellness education to WVU student-athletes and athletic department personnel including coaches, administration, and sports medicine staff. The Clinical and Sport Psychology team is also available to provide specialized services as needed.

Our mission is to provide WVU student-athletes with holistic mental health care, wellness education, and sport psychology strategies. We want to support thriving academically, athletically, and in life beyond WVU. As a department, we recognize and value the unique experiences and intersectional identities of student-athletes. Our staff is committed to creating a safe and inclusive space to explore, learn, and grow. We seek to empower others to use their voice and be advocates for change in addressing systemic inequalities and injustices that have been prevalent throughout our society. We are also committed to ongoing personal and professional growth as a staff to continuously strive towards providing WVU student-athletes the best care possible.

About Us

Sofia Espana Perez

Sofia Espana Perez

Clinical and Sport Behavior Health Therapist

Sofia is originally from Mexico City, Mexico. She completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology at East Tennessee State University, where she was a Division I Tennis player. She completed her Masters in Sport and Exercise Psychology at Minnesota State University, Mankato, where she was the Head Coach for the Division II Women's Tennis team.

Sofia came to WVU in 2017 to study a Master's in Counseling and a PhD in Sport and Exercise Psychology. During the last two years, Sofia worked in the Carruth Center providing mental health services to WVU students and has also worked with collegiate and high school athletes in the mental performance enhancement area.

Sofia currently resides in Morgantown and in her free time she enjoys traveling, hiking and doing triathlons.

WVU utilizes a solution-focused approach to therapy while also integrating Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Relational Cultural Therapy, Mindfulness concepts and performance enhancement strategies into his work. He has experience working with student-athletes with varying mental health (e.g. anxiety, depression, grief, relationships, etc.) and sport performance concerns (e.g. motivation, confidence, injury, etc.). When working with student-athletes he takes a holistic perspective with the hope to help the client become more self-aware, so they can self-regulate in order to be their best self and athlete.

Sofia bases her work on various theories (e.g., Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Intrapersonal Process theory), and truly believes that the true core of meaningful help and support lies in the connection and relationship that is established between therapist and client. During every session she focuses on strengthening the relationship with the client in order to promote positive change in their lives.

Individual sessions provide a unique opportunity for a WVU student-athlete to talk one-on-one with a licensed mental health professional about their concerns and/or areas they would like to improve in life and/or sport. It is important to understand that you do not need to have "something wrong with you" to schedule an individual session. Given the demands placed on student-athletes, it can be common to need time to discuss mental health, sport performance, or a combination of the two. Typically, student-athletes seek individual sessions for any of the reasons listed below. However, if a student-athlete is unsure what they need, they can schedule a 30-minute consultation with a member of the Clinical and Sport Psychology team.

  • Increasing Confidence
  • Anxiety in Life, Sport, or School
  • Adjustment/Homesickness
  • Imagery and Visualization
  • Identity Concerns/Questions
  • Loss of direction/purpose
  • Attention and Concentration/Focus
  • Communication with Teammates/Coaches
  • Relationships and managing conflict
  • Self-talk
  • Mindfulness
  • Recovering from Injury
  • Feeling sad, lonely, or hopeless)
  • Achieving Goals
  • Motivation
  • Substance Use/Abuse
  • Eating Concerns/ loss of appetite
  • Body Image Concerns
  • Anger management
  • Sleep concerns
  • Suicidal thoughts/self-harm
  • Grief
  • Attention/Concentation/Hyperactivty

In addition to individual sessions, the Clinical and Sport Psychology department can provide group sessions for student athletes as necessary.

The Clinical and Sport Psychology staff is a unique part of the athletic department. To schedule an appointment, student-athletes can text, email, or call any of the listed staff members. If you decide to contact a staff member by email or text, please include your name, sport, and your availability. Here is an example:

"Hi Dr. A!! This is Tim Simpson from the football team. I would like to schedule a meeting with you. I am available on Monday from 1-5p, Tuesday and Thursday 10-1p, Wednesday 8-10a, Friday we're traveling. Thanks!""

Student-athletes can also seek mental health services through the WVU Carruth Center for Counseling and Psychological Services. To schedule an appointment with Carruth Center for Counseling and Psychological Services, call (304) 293-4431.

In the fall 2021, WVU partnered with Talkspace, an online therapy service that connects users to a dedicated therapist from a secure, HIPAA-compliant platform. Talkspace is available at no cost to all WVU students, student-athletes, graduate assistants, and student managers.

Registered users can send text, voice or video messages to their therapist - anytime, anywhere - including from the comfort of home. Users also have the option to receive two 30-minute live video sessions with their Talkspace therapist, each month. Registration is open year-round. Check out the app store preview video for Talkspace and when you are ready to sign up and begin online therapy, simply enter your WVU MIX email address at

Talkspace communication is confidential and secure. No one at the University (or anywhere else) will know who uses the service or for what purpose.

If you have questions about Talkspace, please Sara DiSimone at the Carruth Center, or (304) 293-0411.

In accordance with NCAA Mental Health Best Practice Guidelines, all student-athletes will complete a mental health screening with a member of the Clinical and Sport Psychology staff.

Sport psychology is a type of mental coaching that is used by athletes, teams, and others who want to improve their performance in any number of areas. Most athletes realize the importance of physical preparation. Exceptional athletes recognize that solid physical preparation combined with excellent mental preparation leads to their best performances. Emphasis is placed on the enhancement of psychological skills, such as confidence in one's abilities, focusing in the moment, and relaxing when under pressure. Time is often spent helping individuals recognize and more effectively utilize personal strengths. You can find more information on sport psychology by visiting the Association for Applied Sport Psychology website.

WVU student-athletes interested in setting up an individual session focused on sport psychology can contact a member of the Clinical and Sport Psychology staff to schedule.