Erin Ayala, PhD, LP, is a Licensed Psychologist who specializes in health and sport psychology. Dr. Ayala works alongside athletes to help them identify goals, enhance self-awareness and motivation, and overcome barriers to reaching peak performance. She also has experience working with athletes who have rare and complex medical conditions (e.g., autoimmune diseases, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Meniere’s disease). Dr. Ayala approaches her work with clients in a holistic manner, recognizing that daily life, health, and athletic performance are often intertwined.
Experience, Education, and Training
Dr. Ayala grew up near Green Bay, WI. She completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Women’s Studies from St. Catherine University, followed by her doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology from the University at Albany in Albany, New York. She has worked with athletes in college counseling, career counseling, medical centers, inpatient psychiatry, and community mental health over the past several years. In addition to her work at Premier Sport, she serves as a professor in the Counseling Psychology doctoral program at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.
Dr. Ayala participated in track, cross country, basketball, and volleyball as a high school student in Wisconsin. She began running in graduate school, which led to her participation in triathlon and other endurance sports. She has completed nine marathons, seven half-distance triathlons (70.3 miles), and one full-distance triathlon (140.6 miles). Currently, Dr. Ayala is a member of a women’s cycling team in Minneapolis and competes in road, gravel, and cyclocross races. She claimed a top 10 finish in the Dirty Kanza 100 mile gravel race in 2017, and completed the Dirty Kanza 200 mile endurance event in 2018 and 2019. Dr. Ayala has previously volunteered for a couch-to-5k program for domestic violence survivors in Upstate New York, and is committed to introducing more women to the benefits of sport.
License and Certifications
Dr. Ayala is licensed by the Minnesota Board of Psychology as a psychologist. She is a member of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP), the American Psychological Association, the Society for Sport, Exercise, & Performance Psychology, and Minnesota Psychological Association. She is currently working toward certification as a Certified Mental Performance Consultant through AASP.
Recent publications are listed below. For Dr. Ayala’s full CV, please click here.
Ayala, E. E., Waniger, K. J., Faulkner, K. P. A., & Riley-Schmida, A. (2020). Experiences that Affect Participation for Women and Gender Diverse Athletes in Competitive Cycling. Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education and Leadership, 12, 10-26. Doi: 10.18666/JOREL-2020-V12-I1-
Ayala, E., & Taylor, J. (2019). Mental Training- Process. In J. Taylor (Ed.), Comprehensive Applied Sport Psychology: From Attitude to Athletic Success and Everything In Between. Routledge.
Ayala, E. E., Winseman, J., Johnsen, R., & Mason, H. (2018). US medical students who engage in self-care report less stress and higher quality of life. BMC Medical Education, 18, 189-197. doi: 10.1186/s12909-018-1296-x
Ayala, E. E., & Almond, A. L. (2018). Self-Care of Women Enrolled in Health Service Psychology Programs: A Concept Mapping Approach. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. doi: 10.1037/pro0000190
Ayala, E. E., Roseman, D., Winseman, J., & Mason, H. (2017). Prevalence, consequences, and perceptions of alcohol and drug use of U.S. medical students. Medical Education Online, 22, 1-7. doi: 10.1080/10872981.2017.1392824
Ayala, E. E., Omorodion, A., Nmecha, D., Winseman. J., & Mason, H. (2017). What do medical students do for self-care? A student centered approach to well-being. Teaching and Learning in Medicine, 3, 237-246. doi: 10.1080/10401334.2016.1271334. **2018 Editor’s Choice Award**
Ayala, E. E., Berry, R., Winseman, J., & Mason, H. (2017). A cross-sectional snapshot of sleep quality and quantity among U.S. medical students. Academic Psychiatry, 41, 664-668. doi: 10.1007/s40596-016-0653-5