Sport and exercise psychology stars take international conference by storm

Eight trainees and graduates from GCU’s Professional Doctorate in Sport and Exercise Psychology took an international research conference by storm – winning awards and giving outstanding presentations.

They delivered a workshop, and gave six oral and five poster presentations during the two-day 2021 Annual British Psychological Society (BPS) Division of Sport & Exercise Psychology (DSEP) Conference in Liverpool.

The trainees won the 2021 Early Career Practitioner Applied Practice Award for their work delivering the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) Time for You project, supporting frontline workers’ mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stage three trainee Sahen Gupta, who was awarded the best student oral presentation prize for his impressive presentation ‘Open science and theory development in systematic reviews: Innovating with the method in sport and exercise psychology’, said it was a “pleasure and privilege” to take part in the “brilliant” conference.

GCU’s DPsych Sport and Exercise Psychology is the only programme of its kind in Scotland, with a strong focus on developing outstanding therapeutic skills, inter-disciplinary learning, teaching and research.

Dr Bryan McCann, Sport and Exercise Psychologist and Lecturer in Psychology, said: “Our trainees and graduates were a credit to GCU, disseminating their applied work and research experience using a number of formats, actively engaging with other conference content, and making the most of the in-person nature of the conference by networking with national and international delegates.

“It was fantastic to see how the trainees’ work was so well received by their peers and representatives of the sport and exercise psychology industry. What was striking was just how much our trainees and graduates are pushing boundaries, either through profession-leading research methods or to creative and new ways of supporting clients.

“The conference left us all buzzing with ideas and enthusiasm about the future of the profession of sport and exercise psychology, and how GCU’s trainees and graduates can make a positive contribution in shaping the profession of the future.”

Others involved in conference were 2021 graduates Dr Zoe Black and Dr Elanor Cormack, and stage one to three trainees Julie Gordon, Sarah Findlay, Leigh Martin, Hannah Prince and Zoi Zompopolou. Dr McCann presented graduate Dr Ciara Reidy’s poster in her absence at the event.

They all gave amazing feedback from their experience at the conference and the DPsych programme.

Stage one trainee Julie Gordon said: “I felt privileged to be in such great company and for all of us, I think we came to a new appreciation of the quality of training that we are being offered through GCU.”

Sarah Findlay added: “The conference left me feeling inspired and motivated as I enter the final year of my doctorate. Not only through the networking and learning from others, but also through the realisation of how much myself and my peers have developed throughout our training.”

Hannah Price described it as a “wonderful and wholesome experience”, Zoi Zompopolou said her first DSEP conference did not disappoint and Leigh Martin said it reignited her passion for sport and exercise psychology.

Dr Elanor Cormack said it was a “great opportunity to present my recent work and gather feedback from a wider audience to develop it” and Dr Zoe Black said she was “incredibly grateful for the opportunity to present the research I conducted whilst a student at GCU.”

Picture shows Dr McCann with the trainees and graduates at the conference.

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