The solution-focused approach is a form of brief therapy that has been successfully adapted to business coaching and school counseling. The purpose of this article is to give an introduction to solution-focused counseling and how to use it in the field of sport psychology. This article highlights key issues in solution-focused counseling. It also describes the relationship between the athlete and the counselor, where it is common practice to distinguish between three types of relationship: the visitor type, the complainer type, and the customer type. In a solution-focused process of counseling, the introductory conversation usually has the following structure: (a) description of the problem, (b) development of well-formulated goals, (c) exploration for expectation, and (d) end-of-session feedback. The solution-focused process and a number of techniques are described, together with a case example from sport.
Rune Høigaard and Bjørn Tore Johansen
Kristoffer Henriksen, Carsten Hvid Larsen, Louise Kamuk Storm and Knud Ryom
Young competitive athletes are not miniature elite athletes; they are a distinct client group to whom sport psychology practitioners (SPPs) increasingly deliver services. Interventions with this client group are often undertaken by newly educated SPPs who are in need of good guiding principles. Yet, there is a lack of research informing SPPs’ work with this group. In this current study, semistructured qualitative interviews were conducted with four experienced practitioners about their most successful interventions in competitive youth sport. Analysis showed three major themes: (a) young athletes should be equipped with a holistic skills package that enables them to handle a number of existential challenges; (b) young athletes are embedded in an environment (coaches, experts, teammates etc.) that should be involved in the interventions; and (c) interventions with young athletes should maintain a long-term focus. These themes are discussed in the context of current literature on sport psychology service delivery.
Andrew Friesen and Terry Orlick
Incorporating the holistic development of the athlete into an applied sport psychology intervention has been addressed in the literature (e.g., Bond, 2002; Ravizza, 2002). How sport psychology consultants actually practice holistic sport psychology remains unclear. The purpose of this research was to provide a clarification as to what holistic sport psychology is and examine the beliefs, values, theoretical paradigms, and models of practice of holistic sport psychology consultants’ professional philosophies (Poczwardowski, Sherman, & Ravizza, 2004). Qualitative interviews with five purposefully selected holistic sport psychology consultants were conducted. In general, holistic consulting can be interpreted to mean: (a) managing the psychological effects to the athlete’s performance from nonsport domains; (b) developing the core individual beyond their athletic persona; and (c) recognizing the dynamic relationship between an athlete’s thoughts, feelings, physiology, and behavior. The corresponding beliefs, values, theoretical paradigms, and models of practice of holistic consultants were also presented.
Tracey Devonport, Andrew Lane and Christopher L. Fullerton
Evidence from sequential-task studies demonstrate that if the first task requires self-control, then performance on the second task is compromised (Hagger, Wood, Stiff, & Chatzisarantis, 2010). In a novel extension of previous sequential-task research, the first self-control task in the current study was a sport psychology intervention, paradoxically proposed to be associated with improved performance. Eighteen participants (9 males, 9 females; mean age = 21.6 years, SD = 1.6), none of whom had previously performed the experimental task or motor imagery, were randomly assigned to an imagery condition or a control condition. After the collection of pretest data, participants completed the same 5-week physical training program designed to enhance swimming tumble-turn performance. Results indicated that performance improved significantly among participants from both conditions with no significant intervention effect. Hence, in contrast to expected findings from application of the imagery literature, there was no additive effect after an intervention. We suggest practitioners should be cognisant of the potential effects of sequential tasks, and future research is needed to investigate this line of research.
Frank L. Gardner
In his recent article, Silva discussed the development of applied sport psychology as a profession (Silva, 1989). He termed this process “professionalization” and elaborated on issues that were identified as critical for continued growth of the field. The present paper is a reply to several issues raised by Silva. Specifically, in an effort to make a case advocating the need for further professionalization of sport psychology, Silva focused much of his criticism on practitioners trained in clinical psychology as often inappropriately (and unethically) engaging in the practice of sport psychology. In so doing, the interdisciplinary base of sport psychology and the pressing need for mutual respect, understanding, and true collaboration among practitioners of different educational backgrounds were not given adequate attention. The present paper suggests that the literature place greater attention on the issue of who is qualified to provide what service if practitioners of sport psychology are to truly enhance their own professionalism.
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.
Amanda J. Visek, Brandonn S. Harris and Lindsey C. Blom
While there are significant benefits to be gleaned from the delivery of sport psychology services to youth athletes, there does not appear to be a sport psychology consulting model that adequately addresses the unique needs and organizational structure of a youth sport population. The authors have both integrated and extended the current paucity of literature in an attempt to provide sport psychology practitioners with an inclusive youth sport consulting model. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to introduce the Youth Sport Consulting Model (YSCM) which serves as an educational framework for guiding and supporting sport psychology practitioners in the implementation and delivery of sport psychology services for young athletes and their sport organizations.
Matthew D. Bird and Brandonn S. Harris
Sport psychology professionals frequently find themselves working in numerous roles within the field. While some are employed at universities assuming teaching and/or research responsibilities, others work in practice settings where they deliver several applied services. For example, many
Trent A. Petrie, Karen D. Cogan, Judy L. Van Raalte and Britton W. Brewer
An investigation was conducted to examine the possibility of gender bias in the evaluation of sport psychology consultants. AAASP members were sent a packet that included a description of a football player who wanted to work with a sport psychology consultant to improve his consistency, a vita of a fictitious sport psychology consultant, and a rating questionnaire. The packets differed only in regard to the gender of the fictitious sport psychology consultant, which served as the independent variable, with half the sample being assigned to the male condition and the other half to the female condition. Participants (N = 293) evaluated the sport psychology consultant on several dimensions and indicated how strongly they would recommend the consultant to the football player. Results indicated that participants generally evaluated the fictitious sport psychology consultant similarly, regardless of gender. Indeed, the only gender differences that emerged were that the female sport psychology consultant was rated higher than the male consultant on attractiveness, trustworthiness, and general “good counselor” dimensions. Even though evidence of bias against women did not emerge in this study, the importance of promoting an atmosphere of inclusion for both male and female sport psychologists still exists.
Steven J. Danish and Bruce D. Male
Current discussions concerning the eligibility and qualifications of clinical practitioners in sport psychology have ignored the more fundamental question of defining the proper functions of a sport psychologist. The prevailing remedial intervention models presently in use in sport psychology are examined and found to be not in the best interests of either the individual athlete or for the development of sport psychology as a separate discipline. A human development framework and education model of intervention are offered as a means of providing commonalities between applied researchers and clinical practitioners.