By Caroline Heaney
There’s lots of research out there to suggest that the use of sport psychology strategies during sport injury rehabilitation can lead to positive outcomes for the injured athlete. It therefore follows that educating physiotherapists and other sport injury rehabilitation professionals about sport psychology is likely to be of significant benefit, but what exactly do physiotherapists need to know about sport psychology and how is it best delivered to them?
These were the questions that I attempted to answer in a recently published journal article (Heaney, Walker, Green & Rostron, 2015), which aimed to review the recommendations of previous literature in this area and identify the appropriate content and mode of delivery for a sport psychology education intervention for already qualified physiotherapists. Three broad areas that sport psychology education for physiotherapists should cover emerged: (1) understanding of the psychological impact of injury, (2) interventions and psychological skills/techniques, and (3) referral and professional boundaries. In order for such education to be effective it is important that it is applied in nature and delivered in a short duration, flexible package.
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The abstract from the article is reproduced below:
Sport psychology education has been shown to have a positive impact on the practice of sport injury rehabilitation professionals (SIRPs). The purpose of this paper is to review recommendations relating to such education. The paper presents a review of existing literature relating to the content and mode of delivery for a sport psychology education programme for SIRPs. The review seeks to address four questions: (1) What topic areas do researchers suggest should be integrated into the sport psychology education of SIRPs? (2) What topic areas are currently being recommended by professional bodies? (3) What are the findings of research examining the impact of sport psychology education on SIRPs? and (4) What do researchers recommend to be the most appropriate mode of delivery for sport psychology education for SIRPs? The findings of the review suggest that in order to maximise adherence amongst already qualified SIRPs sport psychology education should be delivered in a flexible short duration package. Additionally three broad areas that sport psychology education should cover emerged: (1) understanding of the psychological impact of injury, (2) interventions and psychological skills/techniques, and (3) referral and professional boundaries. This has important implications for the future training of SIRPs.