Moving Toward Buddhist Psychotherapy in Sport: A Case Study

in The Sport Psychologist

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Campbell ThompsonVictoria University

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Mark B. AndersenVictoria University

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This case study involves the progression from a cognitive-behavioral, psychological skills training approach with a rugby football player experiencing adjustment and mood disorder to a psychodynamic and interpersonal engagement with the client using themes from Buddhist psychotherapy. The study charts the development of the psychologist’s understanding of his relationships with clients and with his supervisor. We present a study of three people (i.e., the client, the psychologist, the supervisor) and how their stories and interpersonal interactions are interwoven from a Buddhist-psychodynamic perspective. We examine the influences of the dominant White culture on the male psychologist’s perceptions contrasted with the client’s background as a Pacific Islander. In addition, we present a projective test, which was central to the unfolding of this case study, designed for use with athletes. This case study is a confessional tale (Sparkes, 2002) told in the first-person from the psychologist’s viewpoint.

Andersen and Thompson are with the School of Sport and Exercise Science and the Institute of Sport, Exercise, and Active Living, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

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