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The current case reports the treatment approach used working with an NCAA Division I collegiate rower who initially sought sport psychology services for performance concerns. As the therapeutic relationship grew, the client disclosed stress related to her identical twin sister’s struggle with depression. Over the course of therapy, the client herself began to increasingly demonstrate symptoms congruent with depression. Working with an integrated treatment team including sports medicine and the coaching staff, the sport psychology consultant adopted a strengths-based cognitive behavioral approach that sought to draw on the client’s strengths while identifying the connection between the client’s thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and behaviors and her symptoms of depression. The case is discussed from a biopsychosocial model, and reflections on theoretical applications and interventions are provided. An emphasis is placed on the holistic treatment of collegiate athletes and performers in general. The author concludes by discussing the importance of a well-rounded, positive relationship between exercise science and mental health domains within the field of sport psychology.
Nicole Gabana is with The Ohio State University Counseling and Consultation Service, Columbus, OH.