Informed Pluralism in Sport Psychology Consulting

Kate F. Hays, The Performing Edge, Canada

Theme: Consulting/private practice

Program ID: SYM-29

Presentation: October 5, 2013 2:45 pm - 3:45 pm

Room: Napoleon


At a macro level of performance consulting, this presenter suggests that optimal sport psychology intervention involves a three-pronged evidence-based approach. This involves the case-specific combination of a thorough grounding in relevant research, the practitioner’s knowledge and expertise, and the client’s own characteristics, culture, and preferences in the context of environmental influences (Goodheart, Kazdin, & Sternberg, 2006). The practitioner will want to be familiar with the research literature on optimal performance; have well-developed skills in the delivery and enactment of that literature in a way that speaks effectively to the involved client(s); and have a wide array of techniques and tools in order to select those that are most appropriate for a particular person at a particular moment in time. The athlete’s optimal performance will be a function of that person’s foundational capacity (innate abilities, sense of self, and self-care), thorough preparation (technical and psychological skills), and performance management (effective use of those technical and psychological skills at the time of actual performance) (Hays & Brown, 2004). The interaction of practitioner and athlete will be fundamental to effective performance consulting. Informed pluralism (Norcross, 2003) attends to the practitioner’s comfort with applications of various techniques to specific situations. Collaborative empiricism (Beck, 1986; Kelly, 1955) recognizes the scientific and interpersonally collaborative nature of the process of change, one that will maximize the athlete’s capacity for optimal performance. This perspective regarding performance consulting will be the basis for the presenter’s approach to the case study offered in this symposium.

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