Psychological assessment and treatment are no silver bullet—and can in fact be gratuitous. For instance, a coach who trains executives to enhance their strategic-planning abilities need not be a psychiatrist. But don’t assume that all executives who have planning problems lack the necessary skills. Can a psychological disorder interfere with developing a business plan? Absolutely, if the client suffers from clinical depression, which is known to block one’s ability to engage in constructive, goal-oriented behavior. Without safeguards to prevent coaches from training those whose problems stem not from a lack of skills but from psychological problems, the executives being coached and the companies they work for will suffer.
Sports psychology can be offered as a concentration within a counseling or clinical psychology program. A student in an applied branch of psychology will have coursework in biological, cognitive-affective, and social bases of behavior. The program will also provide a foundation in understanding and treating psychological disturbances, utilizing psychology methodologies, and adhering to professional standards. In addition, a sport psychology program typically includes coursework in the physiological or biomechanical bases of sport.
It’s a really tough time for athletes. They would go through a period where they are questioning themselves, their work, and their skills. As a psychologist, I’d like to give them time to digest what’s happened, especially at the Olympic games for which they’ve been training for four or eight years. Then they can come to me and reflect on what’s happened. I’d like to be a mirror so that they can talk and open up. To be a sounding board for the athlete, and to start rebuilding if they are ready to do so.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is the agency responsible for the laws relevant to the Privacy Rule that is part of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). An athlete’s mental health conditions and treatment are protected health information under HIPAA and not considered part of an athlete’s employment record. The stigma associated with mental health has historically been a barrier to many athletes openly discussing mental health concerns and seeking treatment.
Mental toughness is a psychological edge that helps one perform at a high level consistently. Mentally tough athletes exhibit four characteristics: a strong self-belief (confidence) in their ability to perform well, an internal motivation to be successful, the ability to focus one’s thoughts and feelings without distraction, and composure under pressure. Self-efficacy is a belief that one can successfully perform a specific task. In sport, self-efficacy has been conceptualized as sport-confidence. However, efficacy beliefs are specific to a certain task (e.g., I believe I can successfully make both free throws), whereas confidence is a more general feeling (e.g., I believe I will have a good game today). Arousal refers to one's physiological and cognitive activation. While many researchers have explored the relationship between arousal and performance, one unifying theory has not yet been developed. However, research does suggest perception of arousal (i.e., as either good or bad) is related to performance. Motivation can be defined broadly as the will to perform a given task. People who play or perform for internal reasons, such as enjoyment and satisfaction, are said to be intrinsically motivated, while people who play for external reasons, such as money or attention from others, are extrinsically motivated.
Coaching is a form of development in which a person called a coach supports a learner or client in achieving a specific personal or professional goal by providing training and guidance. The learner is sometimes called a coachee. Occasionally, coaching may mean an informal relationship between two people, of whom one has more experience and expertise than the other and offers advice and guidance as the latter learns; but coaching differs from mentoring in focusing on specific tasks or objectives, as opposed to more general goals or overall development.
When it comes to quitting, sometimes it might seem that the deck is stacked a bit against you. After all, the tobacco in today’s cigarette is much more addictive than it was decades ago. I even learned companies are cultivating tobacco with higher levels of nicotine. Many more additives have been included. Cigarettes have been carefully engineered to make a long-term consumer out of you.
Hypnosis is the most effective way of giving up smoking, according to the largest ever scientific comparison of ways of breaking the habit. A meta-analysis, statistically combining results of more than 600 studies of 72,000 people from America and Europe to compare various methods of quitting. On average, hypnosis was over three times as effective as nicotine replacement methods and 15 times as effective as trying to quit alone.
Look for a hypnotherapist who is a member of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH) or the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. To be a member of either of these organizations, a hypnotherapist must have a doctorate level degree in medicine, dentistry, or psychology, or a master’s degree in nursing, social work, psychology, or marital/family therapy plus a specific number of hours of approved training in hypnotherapy. In some cases, accredited, doctoral-level practitioners of alternative health care, such traditional Chinese medicine, may also be approved for membership. Of course, in addition to looking at qualifications, you should also find a hypnotherapist with whom you feel confident and comfortable in a therapeutic relationship.