A Longitudinal Examination of Neophyte Applied Sport Psychologists' Development
Applied sport psychology students undergo, more or less, changes in how they see themselves professionally as service providers as they proceed through their graduate training. Knowledge about early professional development, changes, and conflicts would likely help trainees, supervisors, and educators enhance the quality of applied sport psychology education. In this study, we interviewed Australian trainee applied sport psychologists (5 females, 3 males, age range 22-32 years) on three occasions about their development as practitioners across the first 2 years of their graduate education. Trainees' motivations for becoming practitioners and their models of service evolved over the 2 years. When first interacting with clients, trainees often adopted rigid “expert” problem-solving approaches to service delivery. With time and more experience, some individuals began to focus on developing relationships with clients and adapting wider and more flexible interventions to suit athletes' needs. The experiences of our sample inform trainees' early professional development, and our findings parallel studies from mainstream counseling psychology.
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