Client-Led Applied Sport Psychology Practitioners’ Narratives About Helping Athletes

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David Tod Lancaster Medical School, Lancaster University, Lancaster, United Kingdom

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Hayley E. McEwan School of Health & Life Sciences, University of the West of Scotland, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

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Colum Cronin Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, United Kingdom

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Moira Lafferty School of Psychology, University of Chester, Chester, United Kingdom

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The current study explored how applied sport psychology practitioners adopting client-led stances described two of their athlete interactions. Applied sport psychology practitioners (8 female and 12 male, mean age = 33.76 years, SD = 4.70), describing themselves as client-led practitioners, discussed two athlete consultancies during open-ended interviews. Data analysis involved examining the narrative structure of practitioners’ stories and identifying the features of client-led service delivery present in the accounts. The participants’ stories reflected a collaborative empiricism narrative in which they collaborated with athletes to resolve client issues. The stories contained features of client-led person-centered therapy and the use of practitioner-led techniques and interventions. The results point to applied implications such as providing accounts of service delivery on which practitioners can reflect as they consider the ways they wish to help clients.

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