Physical factors: what type is it? have you suffered something like it before? what’s the cause? Mental factors: what’s your personality? what’s your best coping mechanism? how do you think about yourself? Situational factors: what kind of sport you are in? what level of competition you are at? Social factors: the influence of coach, family, friends, team-mates.
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.
Despite some web sites and promotional materials that say otherwise, hypnosis is not an approved therapy by the American Medical Association (AMA). The organization does not have an official position on the use of hypnosis. A position statement regarding the use of the technique for medical and psychological purposes was rescinded by the AMA in 1987.
ABSP certification requires a doctorate degree, plus either a license to practice or a certain amount of research/publications. The ABSP also requires candidates to pass the Board Certified Sports Psychologist Examination, as well as have a certain amount of practical experience, research experience, or outstanding contributions to the sports psychology field.
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Professionals in this field may favor one proficiency over another, as this field does require a distinctive combination of training in both medicine and psychology. With their in-depth knowledge of physiology and kinesiology, in addition to their psychology training, some sports psychologists may focus on rehabilitation and reintegration of athletes after an injury, while others may focus on mental health issues surrounding coach-player communication conflicts or improving team dynamics.
In 2007, a meta-analysis from the Cochrane Collaboration found that the therapeutic effect of hypnotherapy was "superior to that of a waiting list control or usual medical management, for abdominal pain and composite primary IBS symptoms, in the short term in patients who fail standard medical therapy", with no harmful side-effects. However the authors noted that the quality of data available was inadequate to draw any firm conclusions.
I have a BSc. in Human Kinetics and a Master’s of Arts in Human Kinetics concentrated in Sport Psychology, which I completed over 10 years after earning my BSc. In those 10 years, I competed for Canada on the World Beach Volleyball Tour. Having been a lifelong competitive athlete, I discovered first-hand the need to train the mind alongside the body. My national team coach once said to me “Kara, you make the hard stuff look easy and the easy stuff look hard,” and it was true. The easier it was, the more time I had to think about it.
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A typical hypnotherapy session has the patient seated comfortably with their feet on the floor and palms on their lap. Of course, the patient could choose to lie down if that option is available and if that will meet the patient's expectation of hypnosis. The therapist can even set the stage for a favorable outcome by asking questions like, "Would you prefer to undergo hypnosis in this chair or on the sofa?" Once patients make the choice, they are in effect agreeing to undergo hypnosis. Depending on the approach used by the therapist, the next events can vary, but generally will involve some form of relaxing the patient. Suggestions will lead the patient to an increasingly relaxed state. The therapist may wish to confirm the depth of trance by performing tests with the patient. For example, the therapist may suggest that when the eyes close that they will become locked and cannot be opened. The therapist then checks for this by having patients try to open their eyes. Following a successful trial showing the patient's inability to open the eyes, the therapist might then further relax them by using deepening techniques. Deepening techniques will vary for each patient and depend largely on whether the patient represents information through auditory, visual, or kinesthetic means. If the patient is more affected by auditory suggestions, the therapist would use comments such as "You hear the gentle patter of rain on the roof;" or, "The sound of the ocean waves allow you to relax more and more." For the visual person, the therapist might use statements such as, "You see the beautiful placid lake, with trees bending slightly with the breeze." Finally, with the kinesthetic person phrases such as, "You feel the warm sun and gentle breeze on your skin," could be used. It is important for the therapist to know if the patient has difficulty with the idea of floating or descending because these are sometimes used to enhance the experience for the patient. However, if the patient has a fear of heights or develops a feeling of oppression with the thought of traveling downward and going deeper and deeper, suggestions implying the unwanted or feared phenomenon will not be taken and can thwart the attempt.