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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is the agency responsible for the laws relevant to the Privacy Rule that is part of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). An athlete’s mental health conditions and treatment are protected health information under HIPAA and not considered part of an athlete’s employment record. The stigma associated with mental health has historically been a barrier to many athletes openly discussing mental health concerns and seeking treatment.
Each athlete/team/performer is unique, thus the process of working with a sport psychologist typically begins with an assessment session where the sport psychologist will determine your performance goals. Based on the information obtained from that session, the sport psychologist will recommend various options to help you decide what approach might work best to meet your achievement goals.
Currently, there are two "credentials" available to sport and exercise psychology practitioners. The first is the "Certified Consultant, AASP" offered through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. The second is membership in the United States Olympic Committee Sport Psychology Registry. Each credential demonstrates that the sport psychology professional has attained some minimum level of training and/or experience.
One of the questions students interested in sport psychology most often ask is “How can I become a sport psychologist?” Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the field -- drawing from psychology and the sport/exercise sciences - there are many different educational pathways students can take to get there. Thus, a central issue for students interested in sport and exercise psychology concerns determining exactly what they want to do in the field. Do they want to teach and conduct research at a college or university? Do they want to coach?
There are many excellent books, journals, websites, and professional organizations through which you can learn more about the field of sport and exercise psychology. Some of them are listed here:
Although all U.S. Olympic athletes have access to a Sport Psychologist, and many professional and college athletes use them as well, sport psychology services can help most people who, regardless of age, race/ethnicity, gender or competitive level, are interested in improving their performance or deriving more enjoyment from sport and physical activity.
The American Psychological Association (Division 47) defines sport and exercise psychology as the scientific study of the psychological factors associated with participation and performance in sport, exercise, and other types of physical activity. Sport psychologists focus primarily on:
- Helping athletes use psychological principles and skills to achieve optimal mental health and to improve performance.
- Understanding how individuals' participation in sport, exercise, and physical activity affects their psychological development, health, and well-being.
Top level athletes know that to achieve performance excellence, they have to be at their best, not only physically, but mentally as well. Are you doing everything possible to ensure that you are mentally prepared to perform consistently at the highest level?
Whatever your skill level, your age, gender, or sport, we can help you evaluate your current performance and develop the skills and mindset needed to reach your optimal level of performance and enjoy what you are doing. We offer specialized services and resources for:
At UNT, there are two educational options for students interested in pursuing a graduate degree in sport psychology. First, within the Department of Kinesiology, Health Promotion, and Recreation, students can pursue a master’s degree in Kinesiology that emphasizes the psychosocial aspects of sport. To learn more about this degree option, click here.
Second, students can pursue a doctorate within the Psychology Department’s APA-accredited counseling psychology program and then select sport psychology as their specialization. Students who graduate from the doctoral program will be eligible for licensure as a psychologist and certification as a sport consultant through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. To learn more about this degree option, click here.