Enhancing Athlete Engagement in Sport Psychology Interventions Using Motivational Interviewing: A Case Study

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Clear reporting of the counseling approach (and theoretical underpinning) applied by sport psychologists is often missing, with a tendency to focus on intervention content rather than therapeutic processes and relationship building. Well-defined psychotherapies such as motivational interviewing (MI) can help fill this void and provide an underpinning counseling approach (in an athlete-centered manner) as a framework for delivering interventions such as psychological-skills training (PST). This article describes the role of MI as a framework on which PST sport psychology interventions can be mapped and delivered. The paper presents an athlete case study to explain the role of MI at each phase of the interaction. Robust, well-defined applications of MI in sport require further research, although evidence from other psychological domains suggests that it can be successfully blended into sporting contexts.

Mack and Butt are with the Centre for Sport & Exercise Science, Faculty of Health & Wellbeing, and Breckon, the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, United Kingdom. O’Halloran is with the School of Psychology and Public Health, La Trobe University, Bundoora, VIC, Australia.

Breckon (j.breckon@shu.ac.uk) is corresponding author.
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