Using a mindfulness-based intervention with a Paralympic archer living with chronic pain.

Amelie Soulard, University of Sherbrooke, Canada

Theme: Mental training/interventions

Program ID: LEC-09A

Presentation: October 3, 2013 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm

Room: Jasperwood


An increasing body of research has established a positive relationship between sport performance and the use of mindfulness (Bernier, Thienot, Codron & Fournier, 2009; Gardner & Moore, 2012; Kee & Wang, 2008). Mindfulness-based interventions as well as Acceptance-Commitment Therapy (ACT) also have a solid empirical foundation in the field of chronic pain prevention and relief (Chiesa & Serretti, 2009; Kabat-Zinn, 2009; Veehof, Oskam, Schreur, Bohlmeijer, 2011). This presentation introduces the content of a Mindfulness-Acceptance-Commitment (MAC; Garner & Moor, 2007) approach used with a self-referred Paralympic archer in her preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games. This 48-years old female disabled athlete suffers from a reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), a severe chronic pain syndrome. The intervention mainly aimed at increasing focus and managing distractions, reducing precompetitive anxiety and managing pain, and consisted in a four step-protocol including 1) developing awareness of thoughts, emotions and body sensations, 2) developing acceptance of these thoughts and feelings, 3) using deep breathing, relaxation and meditation techniques, and 4) refocusing on key elements of her performance. This case study suggests that a MAC intervention may successfully apply to disabled-athletes living with chronic pain, and result in enhanced well-being and athletic performance improvements. Details of the delivery of this intervention, as well as activities and tools developed to support this intervention will be presented and discussed from an applied perspective.

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