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John M. Silva III

The application and professionalization of sport psychology has attracted increased attention from various sources including colleagues in the field, sport science and psychology departments, collegiate, Olympic, and professional sport organizations, and the media. Unfortunately, the attention generated has not resulted in significant organizational progress on issues crucial to the integrity of a developing specialization such as sport psychology. These crucial professional issues include the orderly growth of the field, requirements for the establishment of a recognized profession in sport psychology, the training of future sport psychologists, and the process and procedures required to develop and implement the certification of sport psychologists. The present paper was written to address these critical issues, identify progressive steps currently being taken, and recommend subsequent actions that can advance the field toward the professionalization of sport psychology without compromising the integrity of the academic subdiscipline.

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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.

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Raymond P. Harrison and Deborah L. Feltz

Sport psychology by its very title implies that it is a specialty within psychology. However, many sport psychologists have primary allegiance to other fields besides psychology, and many are not licensed or even eligible for licensing to practice psychology. Problems which have occurred for other psychological specialties are reviewed as a means of predicting conflicts which might arise between unlicensed sport psychologists and state psychology licensing boards. Several alternative responses are outlined by which sport psychologists might minimize future legal conflicts. In any event, sport psychologists should begin now to anticipate these difficulties and prepare means for dealing with them.

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Robin S. Vealey, Nick Galli, and Robert J. Harmison

) wrote the first article on the professionalization of sport psychology. Their conclusion spoke volumes about the perceived challenges ahead: “In short, if sport psychology decides to pursue. . . professionalization, it is unlikely that anyone contributing to that decision would be alive by the time it