Using Storytelling in Applied Practice with Athletes

Brian Hemmings, Private Practice/St. Mary’s University College, United Kingdom
Christopher Willis, Mental Excellence, Austria

Theme: Mental training/interventions

Program ID: WKSP-15

Presentation: October 3, 2013 8:15 am - 9:30 am

Room: Fountain


Throughout the history of humankind stories have been used to communicate knowledge and experience between people in a variety of contexts. Storytelling has also been used as a technique to bring about cognitive and behavioural change, and to facilitate problem-solving in the therapeutic, business, education and personal development settings (Owen, 2001). The purpose of this workshop will be to introduce participants to the concept of storytelling within applied sport psychology practice. Stories are seen to contain therapeutic metaphors (Burns, 2001) if an athlete can relate to the content of story and draw a parallel to their own sport, situation, or current challenge. It is also important to explore what stories athletes tell about themselves. A story is the clients creation of reality and by taking control of his/her story, the athlete must sometimes rewrite it (Loehr, 2008). The workshop will explain the use and benefits of storytelling and introduce guidelines for successful application of stories within consulting practice. A variety of stories will be presented as examples from previous typical consulting experience (e.g. the un-coachable athlete; injury – the second chance for personal growth; my way or the highway-coach). Individuals attending the workshop will be invited to deconstruct the stories’ possible metaphors, as well as having an opportunity to create and share a story of their own within a small group setting. Attendees will also be given suggestions on ways of building their own bank of stories for applied practice and how to help athletes to rewrite their own stories.

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