As Martens argued for applied methods in sport psychology research, the increasing emergence of practitioners of sport psychology (including sport psychology consultants who taught sport psychology skills and principles to athletes and coaches, and clinical and counseling psychologists who provided counseling and therapy to athletes) brought into focus two key questions and a debate which continues to the present day: under what category does the discipline of sport psychology fall?, and who governs the accepted practices for sport psychology? Is sport psychology a branch of kinesiology or sport and exercise science (like exercise physiology and athletic training)? Is it a branch of psychology or counseling? Or is it an independent discipline?
Sports and Exercise Psychology (SEP) is the scientific study of the psychological factors that are associated with participation and performance in sport, exercise and other types of physical activity. Sport and exercise psychologists are interested in helping athletes use psychological principles to achieve optimal mental health and to improve performance (performance enhancement). They also work to promote understanding about how participation in sport, exercise, and physical activity affects an individual's psychological development, health and well-being throughout their life.
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It is pertinent to mention that the practice of applied sport psychology is not legally restricted to individuals who possess one type of certification or licensure. The subject of "what exactly constitutes applied sport psychology and who can practice it?" has been debated amongst sport psychology professionals, and as of 2011, still lacks formal legal resolution in the United States. For instance, some question the ability of professionals who possess only sport science or kinesiology training to practice "psychology" with clients, while others counter that clinical and counseling psychologists without training in sport science do not have the professional competency to work with athletes. However, this debate should not overshadow the reality that many professionals express the desire to work together to promote best practices among all practitioners, regardless of training or academic background.
Jump up ^ The revised criteria, etc. are described in Yeates, Lindsay B., A Set of Competency and Proficiency Standards for Australian Professional Clinical Hypnotherapists: A Descriptive Guide to the Australian Hypnotherapists' Association Accreditation System (Second, Revised Edition), Australian Hypnotherapists' Association, (Sydney), 1999. ISBN 0-9577694-0-7.