Chronic Pain / Injury Recovery

Athletic injuries can cause significant barriers within an athlete’s life. It is common to see higher levels of stress, negative thinking, fear of returning to sport, loss of identity, change in mood, lack of confidence and motivation, as well as loss of enjoyment in sport. That is where we come into play. Meeting with a sport psychologist can help support the rehabilitation process, boost mood, and assist in overcoming the mental challenges that are unique to injury. It is normal to experience frustration, along with a wide range of emotions during the recovery process. Learning mental tools and techniques to help you optimize your best self during this time period so that you are more resilient at the end of your recovery is the ultimate goal. Sports injury rehabilitation is 75% psychological and 25% physiological (Hershman, Nicholas &Thompson, 1990).

How does a chronic pain/injury recovery session differ from an individual sport psychology session?

It depends. One difference might be the specific focus of the session and what is processed, but similar techniques might be utilized (cognitive-behavioral techniques such as relaxation or goal setting, increasing motivation, imagery). For example, a “typical” individual sport psych session might involve working on imagery in order to practice a sport-specific skill, whereas a client with an injury may focus on healing imagery. Same technique, but a decidedly different application and targeted outcome.

How do the sport psychologists and mindset training coaches approach chronic pain/injury recovery sessions?

We like to get a good assessment of the injury (severity, length of recovery, stage of recovery) and begin to coordinate treatment with other helping professions (like your physical therapist or athletic trainer), if applicable, to determine your progression, recovery timeline and readiness for play. Our individual work would involve matching our interventions with the rehabilitation process and timeline established by your doctors, physical trainers, and training staff. We’re also careful to assess how your psychological recovery is progressing, and whether it is keeping pace with your physical rehabilitation.    

How does Premier Sport Psychology supplement other work that clients could get from athletic trainers, physical therapists, doctors, etc.?

What we really do is complement the work clients get from their other helping professionals. As much as a physical therapist understands the physical components recovery and performance, we understand the mental components of recovery and performance. We are specialized to provide athletes and performers the support, education, and tools they need, whether it is recovery from an injury, improving performance, or managing mental health issues. The performance enhancement tools typically work in conjunction with and enhance the efficacy of other helping professions interventions.  

For more information, check out these links:

When is Enough, Enough? The Costs of Playing Through Injuries
“The Connections Between Emotional Stress, Trauma, and Physical Pain” — Psychology Today


  • Proud Provider of Services for Athletes in:
  • Premier Sport Psychology
  • 952.835.8513
    7401 Metro Blvd
    Suite 510
    Edina, MN 55439