Ethical Considerations in Treating Borderline Personality in Sport: A Case Example

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Daryl Marchant Victoria University

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Petah Gibbs Victoria University

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Case example material of sport psychologists working with psychopathology in sport settings is limited. Applied sport psychologists need to be attuned to athletes with personality disorders because the effects of various disorders require substantial management as they can seriously impede individual potential and affect team harmony. In the present paper, a case example of an elite athlete presenting with symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD) is discussed at length. Critical incidents are described to show BPD manifested in a professional sports context. The complexities of providing competent, ethical, and realistic solutions to the athlete with BPD proved to be especially challenging. Issues that posed significant ethical or practical concerns included making an initial diagnosis, the referral process, maintaining confidentiality, and secondary needs.

The authors are with the Centre for Rehabilitation, Exercise, and Sports Science and School of Human Movement, Recreation, and Performance at Victoria University, Melbourne, 8001, Australia. E-mail address: daryl.marchant@vu.edu.au

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