For Professionals Working with Athletes
1. What We Do
- Help athletes improve their mental health (e.g., depression, anxiety, eating disorder) and/or athletic performance (e.g., recovery from injury, teaching mental skills for performance enhancement). This involves:
- Treating mental health diagnoses or mental health concerns to help an athlete feel psychologically better
- Providing performance enhancement techniques and strategies (e.g., optimal mindset training, increasing confidence or motivation, healing imagery, arousal regulation, attentional focus training) to aid in immediate recovery or to utilize for future performance
- Collaborate treatment with other helping professionals (e.g., PTs, ATs, MDs, other sport medicine professionals), depending on the athlete’s presenting concern
- Work with other athlete social supports (e.g., family, coaches) to implement and manage changes
2. When to Refer to a Sport Psychology Professional
- Athlete appears hopeless, negative, overly self-critical, self-doubting, lacking confidence, and/or crying (ask them AND parents, if a minor)
- Significant loss of motivation, reluctance, non-compliance with treatment
- Increase in anger, irritability, or mood swings
- Continue to have “symptoms” after being cleared for activity
- Intense fear about returning to sport or getting re-injured
- Talk about loss of identity (“not sure what I’ll do”)
- Excessive worrying, anxious, obsessive, and/or perfectionistic behaviors
- Isolating self from friends, activities, or team
- Psychological symptoms are impacting life functioning or rehab
- Obsession over returning to sport or guilt over letting a team down
- Desire to improve mental aspect of game
- In “a slump”
3. Factors to Consider When Deciding on Making a Referral
- An athlete may meet criteria for a mental health diagnosis, even if you cannot “see” it
- Up to 27% of injured athletes experience clinical levels of emotional disturbance (Brewer, et. al. 1999).
- Where an athlete is in their recovery process and if they are making progress
- Some studies suggest: Sports injury rehabilitation is 75% psychological and 25% physiological (Hershman, Nicholas, & Thompson, 1990).
- What kind of social support an athlete has
- Sport Medicine rehabilitation specialists were identified as second only to parents/partners/spouses as providers of social support during injury rehab process (Brewer, et. al. 1999).
- Other contributing factors to the likelihood of athletic injury
- Athletes under high levels of stress are three times more likely to suffer from some form of athletic injury (Mann, Bryant, & Johnstone, 2015).
4. Referral Process and Considerations
- Provide the athlete and parent Premier Sport Psychology’s contact information and speak with them about why you think a referral would be helpful.
- Cite your observations of the athlete (see “When to Refer to a Sport Psychology Professional”), how sport psychology services could help them (see “What We Do”), and reasons for the referral (see “What We Do” and “Factors to Consider When Deciding on Making a Referral”) information provided above).
- Target an athlete’s motivation to want to feel/perform better when providing the referral.
- Inform them that we can coordinate treatment, if they so desire, and that this usually helps athletes more than just utilizing one form of treatment.
- We will typically ask for an athlete for a Release of Information (ROI) when they enter services with us, but it would be helpful if you encourage them to do so as they enter into treatment.
- We will handle all individual complexities associated with the athlete’s mental health and helping them increase their mental skills when they contact us.
- If an athlete is being referred to us from Minnesota, we can work with him/her on mental health and/or performance enhancement concerns.
- As athletes (or parents) contact our front desk, we will assign them to the appropriate sport psychology professional. We recommend meeting in person for our initial evaluation with an athlete and can also accommodate distance sessions via Skype as needed and if appropriate.
- If an athlete referred to us is seeking services outside of Minnesota, due to licensing laws, we are not allowed to work with him/her on significant mental health concerns. However, we are able to work with an athlete outside of Minnesota on performance enhancement concerns. We will determine what services we are able to provide (including appropriate referrals, if necessary) at the time of our initial appointment.
- Athletes (or parents) would contact our front desk and we would assess them to determine what services we are able to provide (including referrals, if appropriate) exclusively via Skype.
5. Contact Information
To make an appointment, the athlete (or athlete’s legal guardian, if a minor) can either call at 952-835-8513 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be able to answer any questions an athlete has about our services at that time.