Personal Qualities of Effective Sport Psychologists: A Sports Physician Perspective
Previous literature within applied sport psychology offers little detailed discussion regarding the personal qualities of sport psychology practitioners and the impact of these qualities on practice. This paper presents an exploration of the views of sport physicians regarding the personal characteristics and qualities of applied sport psychologists deemed necessary for effective practice. Five UK-based physicians and one Head of Medical Services, working in a range of elite and professional sports, were interviewed about their experience and perceptions of working with sport psychologists. The interview transcripts were content analysed and trustworthiness criteria applied. Four key themes emerged from the data, labelled ‘Personal qualities’, ‘Relationship Building’, ‘Professionalism in Practice’, and ‘Similarities between Psychologist and Physician’. The findings within each theme offered interesting insights into the impact of personal qualities on effective sport psychology practice. This study extends the existing literature on sport psychologists’ characteristics and effectiveness and offers new insights into their personal qualities and how these interact with the practice environment. The findings supported the growing emphasis within the field on the importance of the person behind the practitioner. Suggestions are offered with reference to the need to consider how literature from counselling psychology and medical training could assist the development of practice and education and training in sport psychology.
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