Consulting Across the Lifespan: Lessons Learned from Applied Experiences

Jean-Charles Lebeau, Florida State University, USA

Theme: Developmental/lifespan perspectives

Program ID: LEC-04A

Presentation: October 2, 2013 2:15 pm - 3:15 pm

Room: Jasperwood


Promoting lifelong physical and mental well-being through sport and exercise is the ultimate goal of various practitioners in the health and wellness domain (World Health Organization, 2012).This objective can be reached through a range of approaches, including mental-skills training. Sport psychology services have been traditionally geared towards youth and adult populations, with a particular emphasis on psychological skills training for peak performance (Hardy et al., 1996). While this approach seems appropriate for promoting optimal performance in sports (e.g., “flow-feeling”), it is important to consider alternative strategies when working with older adults (Conn et al., 2002). Moreover, the growing number of older adults, accompanied by an increased need of physical activity participation within this population reinforces the importance of sport and exercise psychology services tailored to older population (Filho, Basevitch, & Tenenbaum, 2012). A focus group, based on the experiences of four sport and exercise psychology consultants working with both young and older adults, revealed important differences in the consultation approaches across the lifespan. Therefore, the purpose of this presentation is to discuss idiosyncratic methods linked to successful practice and service delivery across the lifespan. Specifically, challenges associated with adapting interventions to meet the needs of the older population will be addressed. The context of intervention (e.g., senior center) and the role of the consultant will also explored. Finally, specific intervention strategies, such as rapport building and setting realistic outcome goals, will be presented. The ultimate purpose is to inform practitioners on applied guidelines to best ensure their clients experience maximum benefits from participating in sport and exercise, to eventually make it a lifelong habit.

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