DPsych student celebrates her first research paper being published

GCU DPsych Sport and Exercise Psychology student Zoe Black is celebrating her first research paper being published in a peer-reviewed journal.

She is the lead author in the paper entitled ‘A case study of a trainee sport psychologist adopting a person-centred approach with a professional basketball player’.

GCU’s Dr Paul McCarthy, the DPsych Sport and Exercise Psychology programme director, was co-author and the research paper has been published in the Sport & Exercise Psychology Review here.

The research analysed the experiences and reflections of a trainee sport and exercise psychologist adopting a person-centred approach to service delivery with a professional basketball player.

The researchers supplement personal reflections with notes from supervision to capture the challenges the trainee faced in attempting to work in a non-direct manner, offer unconditional positive regard and empathy.

They have made key recommendations regarding counselling and communication skills training in the development pathway for sport and exercise psychology practitioners.

Zoe said: “This is my first peer reviewed and published academic paper, for which I am very grateful for. I am really pleased to get the report out there into the sport psychology domain, as currently there is very limited research regarding the person-centred approach in the sporting environment.

“The paper came as result of my placement work that I had been carrying out for the course. It has been a work in progress over the past year. The pandemic and first lockdown gave me time to really pull it all together.

“In terms of the findings of the paper, it provides an example of how person-centred therapy can be used within the elite sport environment.

“It highlights some of its key benefits, such as it gives the client the choice and responsibility to engage in psychological support and truly make it a meaningful experience to them.

“It demonstrates the importance of the relationship between a therapist/psychologist and their client and how this relationship itself can be healing.

“It is hoped that this paper will encourage others within the sport and exercise psychology domain to consider the value and utilise this approach in their own practice and in the training pathways.”

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