Professional development in sport psychology practitioners: Merging PST and CBT

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution - Published abstract for conference with selection processTransferpeer-review


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Psychological skills training (PST) is the dominant model in sport psychology (SP) education and practice (Bond, 2002). A key premise of PST is that athletes are inherently mentally healthy. However, elite athletes are at the same or greater risk of developing mental health problems as non-athletes (Brewer & Petrie, 2002; Schaal et al., 2011). Based on this assumption, a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) counseling education for SP practitioners was introduced in Sweden in 2009. Aim of this study was to gain knowledge about the impact of this clinical counseling education on the professional development of its graduates. 13 graduates of the first CBT counseling program (eight male, five female; age in years: M = 41.15, SD = 8.28; SP work experience in years: M = 12.60, SD = 5.79) participated in semistructured in-depth interviews inquiring their perceived professional development during and after participating in the CBT counseling education. The interview transcripts were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. All 13 graduates reported having incorporated CBT theories and methods into their SP practice. They concordantly perceived clinical counseling competencies to be essential for diagnosing and addressing frequently encountered clinical issues in their SP practice and even in their work with non-clinical SP topics. In addition, professional supervision during and after the CBT education emerged to be a major influential factor on the professional development of all 13 graduates. The present findings indicate that CBT competencies might serve as a useful addition to PST frameworks both in SP education and practice, fueling the current debate whether clinical counseling competencies are essential for SP practitioners. Moreover, professional supervision should be carefully considered in existing and emerging SP educational programs based on its reported importance in the professional development of SP practitioners.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings 14th European Congress of Sport Psychology. Theories and applications for performance, health and humanity
PublisherUniversity of Bern
Publication date2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015

ID: 913669

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