Adapting with a System: A Female Perspective on Working within a Division I Athletic Program

Vanessa LoVerme Akhtar, Boston University, USA

Theme: Professional development and mentoring

Program ID: SYM-25

Presentation: October 5, 2013 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm

Room: Oak Alley


This presentation will center on one female consultant’s approach to working with a male team in a highly academically and athletically competitive Division-I setting. One focus of the presentation will be on initiating consulting and adapting with a team that has served as a practicum site for a variety of sport psychology consultants over the past decade. The presenter will discuss balancing a client-centered model (Rogers, 1957), focused on empowering athletes through a dynamic educational interaction between the consultant and athlete, with the demands of navigating the expectations and challenges of a larger system. Within this framework, the presenter will address the specific challenges and potential benefits of being a female working with a male team, including a completely male coaching and training staff (Wrisberg, Simpson, Loberg, Withycombe & Reed, 2009). This discussion will also include other practical challenges of working within this Division-I program, such as the team’s previous experience with sport psychology services, limitations of confidentiality (AASP Ethics Code standard #18) and a constantly changing system of athletes, coaches and administrators. The presenter will also provide strategies for overcoming these challenges and ways to assess the effectiveness of consulting practice (Sharp & Hodge, 2011).

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