Japanese Journal of Sport Psychology
Online ISSN : 1883-6410
Print ISSN : 0388-7014
ISSN-L : 0388-7014
Practical Article
Psychological Counseling for an Athlete Who Complained “I’m Not Sure What I Am”
-The Process of Growing Up to Become an Independent Athlete through Dialogue-
Kenta YonemaruMasashi Suzuki
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2016 Volume 43 Issue 1 Pages 15-28


The psychological growth process in becoming an independent athlete, and how others influence this process through psychological counseling was investigated. Counseling was conducted for an athlete that had difficulties in enhancing her performance and complained, “I’m not sure what I am.” The counseling continued for three years through 101 interviews. During counseling, she discussed issues related to her performance and how she reconsidered herself. As a result, she became able to take initiatives during competitions and with other people, and grew up to become an independent athlete. Moreover, her performance was enhanced. Analyzing the process of counseling indicated the following. (1) An athlete progresses and becomes independent in the process of attempting to solve performance issues. (2) An athlete that is dependent on the instructions of significant others become a separate individual during the counseling process and grow up to be an independent athlete: namely, the athlete experiences an internal death is reborn as an independent person by overcoming difficulties through trial and error. (3) Listening and understanding an athlete’s mind-body experiences can support efforts, lead to new discoveries and to new insights. Ultimately, the athlete accomplishes changes in performance, as well as in personal relationships. These findings suggest that dialogues during counseling are significant for the psychological development and performance enhancements of athletes. These perspectives would help us to understand the process of psychological development in athletes and would be useful for providing future psychological support for athletes.

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© 2016 Japanese Society of Sport Psychology
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