Sport & Exercise Psychology
Sport and Exercise Psychology Support can assist everyone affected by injury. An injury does not exclusively affect physical capabilities but also contextual and psychological aspects too, such as losing the benefits associated with the opportunity to exercise, train and/or compete.
We are able to offer support as an integrated part of the rehabilitation team. Steve Vaughan, Sport and Exercise Psychology Consultant, works to complement the services of other professions by focussing on the mental components of recovery. He does this by providing support, education and the tools needed in recovering from an injury to enable the return to exercise and/or sport. These tools work in conjunction with physiological interventions.
Note: Steve can also offer specific support in relation to developing the psychology behind approach and performance in sport. Please ask for details.
He can help if you:
- Worry about the ability to recover, or to engage in the rehabilitation process
- Have difficulty filtering out environmental distractions during rehabilitation (or training sessions)
- Withhold effort out of fear (say of re-injury, failure etc)
- Lose focus easily when completing your rehabilitation exercises or when discouragement sets in
- Engage in excessive thinking over simple tasks
- Are unsure of how to set and attain meaningful goals
- Have trouble controlling thoughts about the injury, worries about re-injury or are unable to control negative self-talk
- Want to maximise the utility from rehabilitation and wish to work more intensely on developing psychological approaches to participating in exercise or sport performance (e.g. improving confidence, concentration, composure, trust)
Some examples of psychological skills to enhance recovery include:
Imagery/visualisation – this can be utilised in many different ways to support:
- The rehabilitation process, for example by anticipating sensations of rehabilitation to practice relaxation prior to the physical action, or
- Return to exercise or sport by adopting imagery of activities during rehabilitation. For example this can be done by regularly visualising confidently and calmly getting ready for sport/exercise, doing the warm-up, performing well etc
Self-talk – it is not possible to change the fact that you have been injured but you are able to learn to recognise and manage thoughts about the injury and recovery. For example positively talking to yourself and others about recovery does not mean you are denying the difficulty, it means you are actively choosing to overcome it.
Preventing re-injury – learning how to manage worries about taking part in sport and exercise. Having heightened levels of anxiety while participating in sporting activities has been shown to increase the risk of injury as muscles can tighten and attention is not as sharp, meaning it is possible to misjudge a movement which can result in injury.
Clarifying support network – support can take many forms including emotional, informational, instrumental (someone who offers tangible assistance), and evaluational which can come from many different sources. Working to understand types and sources of support can provide different effects in rehabilitation and return to sport.