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.
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.
This article explores the challenges of building a successful private consulting practice in sport psychology. The author examines the extant literature on the experiences of recent graduates as they enter the field of applied sport psychology and also describes how his own educational and early career experiences have shaped his practice. A four-part approach to consulting with athletes is outlined, along with detailed information regarding practice development, clientele identification, and fee structures. The personal qualities essential for creating a successful consulting practice in sport psychology are also explored. Finally, a five-stage model of career development provides guidelines for maintaining and growing a successful consulting practice.
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.
Michael McDougall, Mark Nesti and David Richardson
The challenges encountered by sport psychologists operating within elite and professional sports teams have arguably been inadequately considered (Nesti, 2010). It has been suggested that this may be due to the inaccessibility of elite team environments (Eubank, Nesti, & Cruickshank, 2014; Nesti, 2010). The purpose of this research was to examine the challenges facing practitioners who operate in elite environments and to illuminate how these were experienced. Qualitative interviews with six experienced applied sport psychologists were conducted and a narrative themed analysis undertaken. Four main themes emerged as most prevalent and meaningful: challenges to congruence, a broader role: managing multiple relationships, the influence of elite sport cultures, and surviving and thriving were presented in narrative form. Practitioners provided experiential insight into how specific challenges were understood and dealt with, and how they are able to provide an effective service while managing themselves and the demands of the environment.
Martens (1987) and Dewar and Horn (1992) expressed the need for accepting diverse epistemological perspectives in sport psychology. This paper proposes feminism as an alternative approach to sport psychology research. Feminism grew out of dissatisfaction with “science-as-usual” that often overlooks the experiences of females and acknowledges that sport behavior does not occur in a value-free vacuum; male and female athletes are exposed to very different situations and experiences in sport. A reexamination of the knowledge base, with particular attention to the experiences of females, is needed. Because discontentment with logical positivism has led researchers in a variety of fields to adopt a feminist perspective, a brief critique of logical positivism is provided. A feminist paradigm and feminist methodologies are described, showing how they can enhance knowledge in sport psychology. Finally, examples of feminist inquiry in sport psychology are provided.
Jim Taylor, Richard Horevitz and Gloria Balague
The present paper examines the value of hypnosis in applied sport psychology. The following issues will be addressed: (a) what is hypnosis?, (b) theoretical perspectives on hypnosis, (c) hypnotizability, (d) factors influencing the effectiveness of hypnosis, (e) misconceptions and concerns about hypnosis, (f) the hypnotic process, (g) research on hypnosis and athletic performance, (h) uses in applied sport psychology, and (i) training in hypnosis. These issues will be considered with respect to the particular needs of athletes and the specific demands of sport.
Andrew T. Wolanin
Sport psychology has become an increasingly popular area of interest for psychologists and psychology students. In addition, it has become an integral part of many collegiate and professional organizations that rely on psychological services for both performance enhancement purposes as well as mental health services. A model for delivering sport psychology services through a doctoral training clinic from a practitioner-scientist perspective will be discussed, as well as the challenges that are faced from an organizational and professional perspective.
Daniel Gould, Vance Tammen, Shane Murphy and Jerry May
The present investigation had three purposes. It (a) evaluated U.S. Olympic sport psychology consultants and the services they provide; (b) used Partington and Orlick’s (1987b) Consultant Evaluation Form (CEF) to examine effective sport psychology consultant characteristics; and (c) identified future sport psychology consultant and program needs. U.S. Olympic sport psychology consultants, sport science and medicine administrators, national team coaches, and athletes from various Olympic sports were surveyed. Results revealed that consultants were perceived in a favorable light across the four subsamples, which did not differ significantly in their effectiveness evaluations. The consultants also received high ratings on all 10 CEF consultant characteristics. Moreover, correlations between the consultant characteristic and effectiveness ratings revealed that fitting in with the team and drawing on athletes’ strengths were among the most important characteristics. Finally, the respondents identified the need to individualize sport psychology strategies as a major way for consultants to better meet athlete needs. Results are discussed relative to ways of improving applied sport psychology consultations with athletes and coaches.