Sexual Countertransference in Sport Psychology Settings
Mitch Abrams, Learned Excellence for Athletes, USA
Theme: Professional issues and ethics (AASP-related)
Program ID: SYM-13
Presentation: October 3, 2013 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm
Athletes are generally an attractive group in terms of physical appearance, confidence, vitality, and other factors, perhaps making practitioners working with athletes more likely to experience countertransference reactions. Stevens & Anderson (2007) aptly state that “romantic or erotic attraction between sport psychologists and those in their care probably occurs more often than many would believe, or want to believe.” Anderson, Van Raalte & Brewer (1994) further note that sport psychologists often operate in looser settings than other practitioners and therefore sport psychologists may have more difficulty establishing and maintaining boundaries. This presentation aims to pull back the curtain on erotic countertransference as a normal phenomenon that becomes problematic and increases risk for acting out when not processed in supervision or consultation. Issues related to difficulties with ethical codes, lack of training in this area that should be a core competency, and the code of silence that exists in sport psychology that increases the likelihood of transgressions will all be discussed. This presentation culminates with examination of the way that these factors can play out in supervisory situations as well as the risks involved when the supervisor may, consciously or unconsciously, use their power to sexually exploit their students.