Practice in the field of applied sport and exercise psychology usually involves a combination of individual and group consulting or counseling depending on the style of the professional conducting the intervention and the needs of the client. Although there are many specific concepts within applied sport and exercise psychology (e.g., goal setting, concentration, motivation, relaxation, imagery), the general goal is to teach mental skills necessary to perform consistently in training and competition, increase adherence to exercise programs, and to help individuals realize their potential.
Skill most commonly used to help individuals who experience arousal at a level that is not effective (i.e., too high or too low) for optimal performance. These techniques can be used for anxiety, stress, and anger management. Common treatments include: (a) breathing exercises (e.g., diaphragmatic breathing, rhythmic breathing), (b) progressive relaxation, (c) meditation, (d) imagery or visualization, and (d) cognitive techniques (e.g., thought stopping and cognitive restructuring).
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Recently some studies have been influenced by an evolutionary psychology perspective. This includes studies on testosterone changes in sports which at least for males are similar to those in status conflicts in non-human primates with testosterone levels increasing and decreasing as an individual's status changes. A decreased testosterone level may decrease dominant and competitive behaviors which when the status conflicts involved fighting may have been important for preventing physical injury to the loser as further competition is avoided. Testosterone levels also increase before sports competitions, in particular if the event is perceived as real challenge as compared to not being important. Testosterone may also be involved in the home advantage effect which has similarities to animal defense of their home territory. In some sports there is a marked overrepresentation of left-handedness which has similarities to left-handed likely having an advantage in close combat which may have evolutionary explanations.
Motivation, concentration and focus, as well as overall mental health, are considered vital components in a winning athletes training. As the mental component in sport is such an important factor, psychology is assuming an increasingly important role in the field. It’s believed that the difference between a sports person with strong psychological training and a sports person without this could mean the difference between first and second place.
Hypnosis is the process of putting people into a highly suggestive trance like state by using various verbal commands and thought processes. There is a huge amount of debate about the amount of influence a hypnotist can have on someone and on exactly what happens to the brain when someone is hypnotized However it is widely accepted that hypnosis cannot make people perform actions that they would not be consciously willing to do. (So all those stage performer hypnotists you may have seen have some serious questions to answer).
Although descriptions of psychic disorders date back to antiquity, the practice of psychiatry in its contemporary form only began to take shape in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when psychiatry split off from neurology as a distinct medical specialty. Modern psychotropic medications first emerged in the 1950s, ushering in an age of “biological psychiatry” wherein mental suffering was medicalized and increasingly understood from the vantage point of neuroscience and related fields.