COURSE APPROVAL GUIDELINES APS COLLEGE OF SPORT PSYCHOLOGISTS

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1 COURSE APPROVAL GUIDELINES APS COLLEGE OF SPORT PSYCHOLOGISTS Updated October 2000

2 Page 2 1. General Introduction and Principles The following principles provide the bases and framework for the development of graduate courses in sport psychology. Approved courses should have a major emphasis and orientation in sport psychology. However, the course should include appropriate and relevant aspects of general psychology and should include sport sciences other than sport psychology. The APS College of Sport Psychologists recognises the following as essential components of applied sport psychology practice. Personal development and well-being. Group dynamics and team culture. Performance enhancement. Clinical interventions. Applied research. The psychological needs of athletes, coaches and sports administrators include those which are both common to many client groups in every society and special issues which may be specific to the sporting environment. The College seeks to encourage the development of postgraduate Masters courses in sport psychology which address the education and training needs of those who will practise as psychologists in a wide range of sporting environments. The present document sets out guidelines to assist, facilitate, and evaluate the development of postgraduate courses in sport psychology in Australian Universities. These particular guidelines refer specifically to the development of Masters degree courses in sport psychology. The document has been prepared to guide the process of APS College of Sport Psychologists approval of Masters courses in sport psychology and for the purpose of determining College membership eligibility. The APS College of Sport Psychologists acknowledge the variety of existing University courses and the diversity of staff backgrounds, qualifications, and professional experience in Departments of Psychology, Sports Science and Human Movement, and sees this as a strength in the development of formal courses in sport psychology in Australia. For these reasons the College wishes to be as flexible and helpful as possible, within the broad guidelines outlined in the present document. The APS College of Sport Psychologists holds the view that the preparation and training of sport psychologists should be based on the scientist-practitioner model. The College interprets this model as it applies to the education and training process in terms of three broad components: content knowledge, research, and practical experience.

3 Page 3 2. General Program Requirements The APS College of Sport Psychologists endorses the view that the preparation for professional sport psychologists should include both scientific training in psychology, sport psychology and sport sciences, and supervised experience in the practice of psychology, and sport psychology. The College seeks to provide guidelines which should lead to individuals gaining both a breadth and depth of training in both the academic discipline of psychology and the most significant areas of practice in the profession of sport psychology in applied settings. Postgraduate sport psychology programs should provide trainees with a working knowledge of professional attitudes and skills across a variety of settings to deal with the professional, interpersonal and ethical issues which arise in the practice of sport psychology. The professional training provider should also ensure that the community receives the quality of sport psychology services they have the right to expect. Course development must take into account that the specific College rules that follow must adhere in the first instance to the General Rules as set out by the APS in the Accreditation Guidelines (October 2000). The College course requirements can never be less than those outlined by these Accreditation Guidelines. The following principles provide the bases and framework for the development of post-graduate courses: 2.1. Approved courses should be at the level of a postgraduate Masters degree or its equivalent and take two years of full-time study or the part-time equivalent to complete Approved courses would normally only be available to students whose undergraduate degree incorporates an APS accredited psychology course as a major study over three years (or equivalent) and a psychology Honours degree or other equivalent APS accredited fourth year courses. Sport psychology Masters applicants would preferably have completed undergraduate study in the sports sciences. In cases where this is not the case, appropriate sports science subjects should be included in the overall Masters program Approved courses should consist of three sections, formal knowledge (course content), research skills and practical skills experienced in professional pactice. Course content in all areas will be based upon established psychological theory and empirical research The presentation and discussion of evaluation research data relevant to areas of professional practice, such as psychological assessment and intervention is essential Approved courses should maintain a balance with regard to the formal knowledge base and the research and professional skills development.

4 Page Approved courses should have a major emphasis and orientation in sport psychology. However, the course should include appropriate and relevant aspects of general psychology and may include sport sciences subjects where appropriate The Masters coursework must include discussion and evaluation of ethics and professional issues in the practise of psychology and specifically of sport psychology. The study of ethical issues must be linked with the established code of ethics in psychology. Students must be assessed in their knowledge and competence in this area The Masters degree would ensure that students are sensitised to racial, cultural, and gender equity issues as they relate to the practice of sport psychology. 3. Resourcing the Program 3.1. The staffing of an APS College of Sport Psychologists post graduate Masters course must comply with the Accreditation Guidelines October 2000, Section The student:academic staff ratio must comply with Section of the Accreditation Guidelines The course accreditation proposal should identify a placement/supervision coordinator who must be a member of the APS College of Sport Psychologists. Any University staff member directly supervising a placement in sport psychology must be a APS College of Sport Psychologists member and comply with legal registration requirements. Any University staff member directly supervising a placement in sport psychology must be a APS College of Sport Psychologists member and comply with State legal registration requirements The College recognises that the core staff who contribute to the course must comply with of the Accreditation Guidelines, but additional staff may be involved and contribute without meeting a requirement for APS College of Sport Psychologists membership Non-specialist/External supervisors are required under Section of the Accreditation Guidelines to be a Member of at least one APS College. Specialist external supervisors must be a Member of the APS College of Sport Psychologists Specialist staff involved in teaching are encouraged by the College to undertake regular applied sport psychology practice relevant to the course. The College encourages these staff to seek this recognition and support of the University for this work. 4. Content of Coursework

5 Page 5 Approved courses should include the following topics each with an emphasis on sport psychology. These core topics should make up the major proportion of the course content. The College is not prescribing that there must be six separate courses dealing with the above core topic areas. Rather than setting up six separate units dealing with the above major points it is proposed that these topics are dealt in some way either in the body of knowledge through coursework, practicum or research or combinations thereof. The combined core and elective unit must meet the APS requirement that at least 70% of the total coursework be psychological in nature. The remaining 30% may comprise sport sciences or other relevant units in other disciplines Core topics (a) Sport psychology theory - Contemporary theories in sport psychology relevant to motivation, attributions, group dynamics, leadership, imagery, attention and personality. motivational theories arousal, anxiety and stress management theories attentional theories personality theories attribution and self efficacy theories group dynamics and group cohesion theories developmental theories (issues in sport psychology across age groups) learning theories (sport pedagogy) performance enhancement theories (intervention and mental skill effectiveness) leadership theories. (b) Research design and methodology - basic concepts of research and descriptive statistics inferential statistics: parametric tests including multivariate statistics inferential statistics: non-parametric tests qualitative analysis. (c) Psychological assessment, intervention and evaluation - needs assessment by way of interview, observation and psychological tests intervention methodologies: psychodynamic approach cognitive behaviour therapy behaviour modification relaxation-based therapies family system theory

6 Page 6 individual, team and family counselling career and educational counselling system(organisational) analysis social learning theory humanities approach existential theory evaluation of intervention methodologies by interpreting statistical procedures such as true experimental designs and quasiexperimental designs including single case experimental research. exposure to tests currently in use in sport-exercise psychology, administration, scoring, interpretation, and feedback of instruments in the following areas: anxiety/arousal attentional focus imagery achievement and motivational orientations group dynamics in sport mood state questionnaires self-concept and self-esteem scales. (d) Professional practice and ethical issues - confidentiality and other issues. sensitivity to individual needs (e.g., race, culture, sexual preference). keeping psychological files and psychological report writing. financial arrangement with organisations including sponsors and management. requirement for registration, membership of professional organisations, and structures of provider networks (e.g., AIS, SSI, OAP). conducting private practice and working in a small team environment. (e) Performance enhancement in sport - ability to implement performance enhancement psychological skills training in a variety of educational settings - formal, informal, group and individually. ability to implement/provide personal development training/counselling in a variety of settings, formal, informal, group and individually. ability to develop curriculum development plans for coaches/administrators in areas such as mental skills periodisation, and psychological recovery. (f) Critical issues/interventions in sport - gender and equity issues psychological aspects of sport injuries eating disorders

7 Page Elective. substance abuse athletes with disabilities career transition in sport trauma recovery. depression and mood disorders. (a) Sport and exercise sciences - Sport and exercise sciences can be completed at both undergraduate or graduate level. A post-graduate seminar-type subject that involves discussion and understanding of major issues in exercise physiology, biomechanics, motor control, and sport sociology would be ideal. However, suitable subjects that could be used to meet the sport and exercise sciences requirement could include: cultural and sociological issues teaching and coaching principles nutrition and eating behaviour organisation, administration and management health and exercise psychology exercise physiology biomechanics sport injuries and sport medicine motor learning and motor control If a University offering a Masters degree does not have access on-campus to sport and exercise science subjects, arrangements must be made for students to complete appropriate subjects at another University. Credit points need to be allocated to the sport and exercise sciences. If another University is involved, the logistics about which subject(s) are to be taken, where they will be taken, and the approval and procedure for cross-institutional enrolment must be specified. 5. Research In addition to meeting the usual requirement of the research component of a Masters degree accredited by the APS as fifth and sixth years of study in psychology (Accreditation Guidelines to ), it is expected that the research topic will have direct relevance to the field of sport psychology. 6. Practical Placements 6.1. The course must contain 1000 hours of placement. Such practical work may be achieved through three or more practice placements or through experiences in a clinic operated by the University. At least 50% of this time will be in a sport-related setting.

8 Page Where possible students should also be given experience in dealing with a variety of issues such as eating disorders, substance abuse and sexual harassment Students should also be placed with a variety of different types of clients such as coaches, individual athletes, sporting teams, and with both children and adults For all practicums the University based or external supervisor must be a registered psychologist, eligible to supervise students The University based or external supervising psychologist would normally be a member of the APS College of Sport Psychologists or another APS College with two years experience since gaining equivalent experience, or be eligible for such membership and have equivalent experience (see 3.5 above) The quality of all practical work must be strictly supervised and monitored, with student experiences recorded and evaluated by practicum supervisors. This process should be consistent with that required for College membership and with the general guidelines for supervision provided by the APS College of Sport Psychologists and should include the following: (a) (b) (c) a written statement of the activities the student will be engaged in while on placement. This statement should be developed prior to placement and be the result of consultation before the coursecoordinator (or nominee) and the practicum supervisor. Once approximately half the placement has been completed, an interim review should be conducted which involves the student and supervisor reviewing progress, the student s performance and the extent to which the placement objectives are being met. A copy of this review should be given to the placement supervisor and any action that is required as a result should be taken. (Accreditation Guideline ). At the end of the placement the supervisor should complete a final assessment and make a recommendation whether the student has completed the placement at an acceptable level, whether further time should be spent on that placement because the student has not yet met requirements, or whether the student has failed to meet the required standards and is not likely to do so with further work. The final decision regarding whether the student has passed or failed the placement should be made by the placement coordinator in full consultation with the field supervisor. (Accreditation Guideline ) As part of the practical work students must have demonstrated competence in the following:

9 Page 9 (a) (b) (c) the administration, scoring, interpretation and feedback of a selection of sport specific psychological assessment instruments outlined in above. the design, implementation and evaluation of interviewing, history taking techniques, team and individual educational programs, athlete/coach counselling, and intervention programs. The practicum supervisor may choose to evaluate student competence in the above areas via counselling, direct observation, case study presentation/discussion, or video replay and discussion. 7. Assessment 7.1. Evaluation of student competence should include assessment of academic, practical and research work Courses have a responsibility to develop assessment processes that are appropriately objective, and will ensure that students whose behaviour is professionally incompetent or unethical do not obtain a formal qualification in sport psychology Courses must specify the general criteria for satisfactory performance in practicums The assessment of practicum work should include evaluation of at least three written case reports (of at least 2000 words) at some point in the program. The reports should provide details of the presenting case, describe the trainee s work, and justify the methods used Evaluation of case reports should be carried out by the University-based practicum supervisor and where appropriate in cooperation with one external practicum specialisation supervisor(s) Courses should ensure there is a procedure to deal with placement failure, such as the extension of the training period if continuation of training is judged to be appropriate.

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