Uncommon sports psychology: a qualitative study of the process of utilizing family therapy theory and techniques with an athletic team

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Virginia Tech


Coaches and athletes utilize sports psychology as a part of training and preparation for competition. A linear individualistic epistemology is generally subscribed to by sports psychologists. This study investigated a new way of working with athletic teams, from a systems perspective. The researcher consulted with a university athletic team utilizing family systems therapy theory and techniques. This "uncommon sports psychology" approach was studied using qualitative methodology. A detailed case study, including rationale for interventions, was reported and may serve as an example to systems therapists who want to consult with “athletic teams. At the end of the consultation sessions, a focus group eliciting the participants' perceptions of the consultation process. Finally, recurrent themes and patterns which emerged throughout the consultation process were discussed. Discussion of the methodology and implications for future research and clinical work were also included.