The quest for professional self-understanding: sense making and the interpersonal nature of applied sport psychology practice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Sport Psychology
Early online date16 Apr 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Apr 2021
Several authors within the sport psychology literature have acknowledged an interpersonal dimension of applied practice, with several publications highlighting the significance of developing and maintaining effective working relationships with a range of key stakeholders (i.e. athletes, managers, coaches, sports physicians, parents). Through the use of a longitudinal series of semi-structured interviews across an eighteen month period, this article explores the experiences of four trainee practitioners and two qualified sport psychologists, and their perceptions of working with multiple stakeholders, examining how such encounters serve to shape and inform their professional self-understanding in a contextual manner. Key themes constructed through Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis accounted for finding one’s place, picking your battles and being seen to do a ‘good’ job. Upon acknowledgement of self-perception and recognition from others as being fundamental factors in shaping a practitioner’s professional self-understanding, the present article encourages early career practitioners, and the professional bodies who train them, to increase their engagement with other fields and professions, with a view to better preparing sport psychologists for the everyday interpersonal demands of successful applied practice.

    Research areas

  • stakeholder, professional self-understanding, micropolitics, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA)

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