Welcome to the UNT Center for Sport Psychology and Performance Excellence website. I appreciate you taking this opportunity to learn more about our Center and the work we do at the university and in the community. The Center for Sport Psychology is a national leader in (a) providing services to athletes, coaches and teams, (b) educating future sport psychologists as well as current coaches and sport administrators, (c) conducting research with exercisers and sport participants, and (d) working with the community, such as youth sport programs, to make sport a more enjoyable and meaningful experience. Simply put, our mission is to help you reach your performance goals, whatever they may be, and find passion in what you do.
Becoming a sports psychologist could be an exciting career choice for many psychology students, especially those who have a strong interest in sports and physical activity. The American Psychological Association describes sports psychology as a "hot career," suggesting that those working in university athletic departments earn around $60,000 to $80,000 per year. If you are interested in this career, learn more about the educational requirements, job duties, salaries and other considerations in this profile of careers in sports psychology.
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That's in part because there isn't enough data. While some studies have shown positive results, they differ too much for anyone to draw a solid conclusion. Few studies that have been done over the years met HHS’s inclusion criteria, owing in part to the vast array of methodologies used. “There was no common or standard intervention technique to analyze,” the guidelines read. “Moreover, an independent review of nine hypnotherapy trials by the Cochrane Group found insufficient evidence to support hypnosis as a treatment for smoking cessation.”
The issue is threefold. First, many executive coaches, especially those who draw their inspiration from sports, sell themselves as purveyors of simple answers and quick results. Second, even coaches who accept that an executive’s problems may require time to address still tend to rely solely on behavioral solutions. Finally, executive coaches unschooled in the dynamics of psychotherapy often exploit the powerful hold they develop over their clients. Sadly, misguided coaching ignores—and even creates—deep-rooted psychological problems that often only psychotherapy can fix.
The history of sport psychology began back in the late 19th century, with Norman Triplett. Triplett was a psychology professor at Indiana University during this time, and he conducted research on cyclists. The results of his research showed that the cyclists in his experiments typically performed better when they were riding with others in a group, compared to when they were riding alone. In 1920, the first sport psychology laboratory was founded by Carl Diem in Germany. Coleman Griffith, who worked with athletes from the Chicago Cubs, soon followed suit and founded the first sport psychology laboratory in the United States. It wasn't until 1987, though, that the American Psychological Association created the sport psychology division, Division 47.
In the 1950s, Milton H. Erickson developed a radically different approach to hypnotism, which has subsequently become known as "Ericksonian hypnotherapy" or "Neo-Ericksonian hypnotherapy." Erickson made use of an informal conversational approach with many clients and complex language patterns, and therapeutic strategies. This divergence from tradition led some of his colleagues, including Andre Weitzenhoffer, to dispute whether Erickson was right to label his approach "hypnosis" at all.