The maturation processes of applied sport psychologists have received little research attention despite trainees and practitioners having often reported experiencing challenging circumstances when working with clients. Within clinical psychology literature the self-practice of cognitive techniques, alongside self-reflection, has been advocated as a means of addressing such circumstances, and as a significant source of experiential learning. The present study sought to identify the possible types of, and purposes for, self-practice among twelve UK-based sport psychology practitioners. Thematic analysis of semistructured interviews indicated all participants engaged in self-practice for reasons such as managing the self, enhancing understanding of intervention, and legitimising intervention. Some participants also described limitations to self-practice. Subsequently, three overriding themes emerged from analysis: a) the professional practice swamp, b) approaches to, and purposes for, self-practice, and, c) limitations of self-practice. It is concluded that self-practice may provide a means of better understanding self-as-person and self-as-practitioner, and the interplay between both, and is recommended as part of on-going practitioner maturation.
Stephen Pack, Brian Hemmings, and Monna Arvinen-Barrow
To date, there has been limited discussion of sport psychology consultant development, and there is not a comprehensive knowledge base on practitioner maturation. In this article the author argues that counselor-development literature might contribute to sport psychology consultant training and practitioner-maturation research. The author reviews counselor-development theory and highlights similarities with sport psychology literature, such as the documentation of trainees’ anxieties. Implications for practitioner training include matching instructional methods to trainees’ developmental needs, creating strategies for making use of modeling and simulated or real client interactions, and helping trainees deal with anxiety and conflict. Possible research directions include following sport psychology consultants longitudinally and recording experienced practitioners’ life histories. The use of counselor-development literature might assist educators and supervisors in their interactions with trainees, help practitioners reflect on and perhaps improve their service-delivery practices, and stimulate studies that contribute to a broader understanding of sport psychology consultant development.