Viviane Pecanha



Viviane Pecanha

Department Chair

  • Campus:
  • Online
International Psychology
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

A clinical and research psychologist, Dr. Viviane Pecanha began her education and career in Sao Paulo, Brazil. With a focus on cognitive and behavior analysis, she received a doctoral degree in the field of addictive and chemical behaviors at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Since 1998, Dr. Pecanha has worked to advance research and education for addictive disorders. She helped found the first South American treatment and research center dedicated to understanding impulse control disorders and gambling.

Dr. Pecanha also co-founded a Brazilian non-profit organization that educates and trains mental health professionals to diagnose and treat impulse control disorders. She has provided both inpatient and outpatient psychological services for behavioral and chemical addictions at psychiatric hospitals, residential treatment facilities, and community counseling centers. In 2005, Dr. Pecanha began teaching at the graduate level at the University of California in Los Angeles while researching addiction issues as well as counseling clients in private practice.

She has since returned to Brazil, teaching online for The Chicago School and furthering its global mission by arranging field study in Brazil for TCSPP students. Dr. Pecanha continues her work as a clinical and research psychologist in Brazil, providing cognitive behavioral therapy to clients suffering from mental health issues, and working to increase public awareness of addictive behaviors and related consequences such as trauma and violence.

Education History
Degree Institution
B.A. Mackenzie University, Sao Paulo, Brazil
M.A. University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Ph.D. University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Professional Memberships
Role Organization
Member American National Council on Problem Gambling Association
Member Brazilian Association for Impulsive Control Disorders
Member Brazilian Association of Chemical Dependence
Member Brazilian Psychological Association
Member Brazilian Cognitive and Behavioral Society
Certification: Specialization in Cognitive and Behavior Analysis, Chemical Dependence, and Impulse Control Disorders
Clinical Psychologist, Brazil
Community Involvement
Led workshops that promoted mental health in L.A.'s Brazilian community
Member of The Brazilian National Institute on Alcohol and Drug Policies a non-profit organization in Brazil devoted to treating chemical dependency and developing public health policies in the field of chemical dependence
Provide psychotherapy for a reduced fee or pro bono for under-privileged populations
Psychological Consultant, Brazil Explore Magazine, a magazine devoted to issues facing the Brazilian community in Los Angeles
Areas of Expertise
Area Expertise
Addiction/Substance Abuse Co-occurring Disorders
Applied Behavior Analysis Assessment/Analysis
Functional Analysis
Lifestyle Management
Problem Behavior Reduction
Skill Development
Clinical Psychology / Mental Health Addictions
Anxiety Disorders
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Disorders
Comorbid Disorders
Mood Affective Disorders / Suicide
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders
Psychotic Disorders
Substance-Related Disorders
Diversity Acculturation
Community Mental Health
Cultural Issues
Diversity Issues
Immigration/Immigrant Issues
Ethical & Legal Issues Code of Conduct for Psychologists
Mood Disorders Bipolar Disorder
Neuropsychology/Neuroscience Clinical Neuroscience
Psychology Subdisciplines - Clinical Psychology
Subdisciplines - Cognitive Psychology
Subdisciplines - International Psychology
Subdisciplines - Neuropsychology
Subdisciplines - Psychosocial Psychology
Subdisciplines - Social Psychology
PTSD/Trauma Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Research Design/Methodology Quantitative Inquiry
Therapeutic/Theoretical Orientation Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Silva, J.V., de Castro, V., Laranjeira, R., Figlie, N.B. (2012). High mortality, violence and crime in alcohol dependents: 5 years after seeking treatment in a Brazilian underprivileged suburban community. Rev. Bras. Psiquiatr., 34(2):135-142.

Dias, A., Araujo, M.R., Dunn, J., Sesso, R.C., de Castro, V., Laranjeiras R. (2011). Mortality Rate Among Crack/Cocaine Dependent Patients: A Twelve Year Prospective Cohort Study Conducted in Brazil. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 41(3):273-8

Nyamathi A, Shoptaw S, Cohen A, Nyamathi K, Marfisee M, Kallifard, F, de Castro V, George D, Leake (2010). Effect of Motivational Interviewing on Reducing Alcohol Use. Drug Alcohol Depend,107 (1):23-30.

Nyamathi A, Compton M, Cohen A, Shoptaw S, Greengold B, de Castro V, Reaves M, Hasson A, George D, Leake B, Marfisee M, (2009) Correlates of Hospitalization for Methadone-Maintained Persons with Physical Health Problems. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 31,525-543.

Nyamathi, A., de Castro, V., McNeese-Smith, D., Nyamathi, K., Shoptaw, S., Marfisee, M., Khalilifard, F., & Cohen, A. (2008). Alcohol use reduction program in methadone maintained individuals with Hepatitis C virus infection. Journal of Addictive Diseases, 27(4):27-33.

Nyamathi, A., Smith, D.M., Shoptaw, S., Mutere, M., Cohen, A, Amrani, I, Morales, L., & de Castro, V. (2007). Perceptions of methadone maintained clients about barriers and facilitators to help-seeking behavior. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action, 1(4): 301-309.

de Castro, V., Fong, T., Rosenthal, R.J., & Tavares, H. (2007). A comparison of craving and emotional states between pathological gamblers and alcoholics. Addictive Behaviors, 32(8):1555-1564.

Savoia, M.G., Vianna, A.M., Esposito, B., Guimaraes, E.P., Gil, G., Jorge, L.A.F., Toledo, L.C., & de Castro, V. (2006). Portuguese translation and cross-cultural validation of a personality disorders inventory. Arquivos Médicos dos Hospitais e da Faculdade de Ciências Médicas da Santa Casa de São Paulo, 51:43-46.

de Castro, V., Fuentes, D., & Tavares H. (2005).The gambling follow-up scale: development and reliability testing of a scale for pathological gamblers under treatment. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 50(2):81-86.

de Castro V. Cognitive and Behavior Treatment for Chemical Dependences In: Savoia, MG, Ed. Interface between Psychology and Psychiatry - New Concept in Mental Health. São Paulo: Rocca, 2012, p 155-166.

de Castro, V. Relapse Prevention - Contributions of The Cognitive and Behavior Approach. In: Brandão, ZS, Eds. About Cognition and Behavior. Santo André: Esetec, 2004, v.13, p 374-383

Tavares H, Fagundes G, de Castro V, Daltio C, Braun I. Changing the Game: treatment manual for pathological gamblers. Sao Paulo: Leitura Medica, 2008.

Professional Skills
addiction, adolescent psychology, anxiety, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), chemical Dependence, cultural issues, depression, forensic psychology, immigrant populations, Impulse Control Disorders, mood disorders, neuropsychology, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, trauma