The applied sport psychology intake
Well before diving into psychological work with athletes, one would do well to heed the beautiful words of Stringfellow, listening with the accessibility and vulnerability that invite relationship and foster insight. From the start, it is important to take the time to listen as the words reveal the athlete’s stories. In this chapter, I will focus on the applied sport psychology intake, relatively free from assessments. A great many protocols for clinical or counseling intake include an assessment schedule. For example, Taylor and Schneider (1992) have offered a method for athlete intakes that includes a well-considered and comprehensive assessment. Nevertheless, as Andersen (2000) pointed out, even though such a protocol is a valuable resource for practitioners, it is often too formal and clinical for the far more loose initiations of service common to applied sport psychology situations. Furthermore, jumping into assessment during the initial intake will often implicitly constrict the process to the tools favored by the clinician before adequate time has been spent determining whether or not psychological counseling is even warranted (Van Audenhove & Vertommen, 2000). Based on extensive investigations into the subject, Van Audenhove and Vertommen stated that they “became more and more convinced of the importance of the intake phase preceding the start of psychotherapy” (p. 296), even to the point of recommending several sessions prior to formally proceeding in clinical settings. So here, I will examine the value and practical issues surrounding intakes in applied sport psychology that are light on assessment.