Novice consultants’ experiences: Lessons learned by applied sport psychology students

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Objective:Applied sport psychology (ASP) literature reveals a number of publications on reflective practice and professional philosophies of well-established sport psychology consultants. However, there is much less interest in studying how novice consultants make the first steps in their careers and how they perceive the field of ASP in their respective countries and themselves within the field. The objective of this study is to analyse and structure lessons learned by students during their one-year ASP education and supervised practice in Sweden.Method:Thirty-seven ASP students (23 males and 14 females) took part in this study. The data were extracted from the students’ final reports on their six-month interventions with athlete-clients. Altogether 278 raw data units (lessons learned) were identified.Results:We used both inductive and deductive analyses to create 33 themes and four categories named professional tools, consultant–client relationship, learning process and experiences, and professional philosophy. These four categories were further structured into three levels reflecting the students’ learning process and exploration of the profession with the shifts from analysis to synthesis and from concrete to more generalized and strategic lessons learned.Conclusion:The study provides insight into the novice sport psychology consultants’ reflective practice. The results are discussed using career development, scientist-practitioner and cultural sport psychology perspectives. Applications and future research directions are outlined.

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