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Wednesday, 30 June 2010

How do you become a sport psychologist?

Even those interested in sport to a very high level might not know what training you go through to be able to call yourself a sport psychologist and advertise yourself as such, it's still something I'm working on and as I'm UK based will focus on that route.

The law in the UK recently changed so that the Health Professions Council now regulate psychologists, and any role ending in psychologist (e.g. Neuropsychologist, sport psychologist etc) hold protected status. There are specific routes, some divisions more established than others, that allow you to gain chartership and the British Psychological society (or BPS) has developed the routes.

The first part now requires an undergraduate degree that allows Graduate basis for chartered membership or GBC (previously Graduate basis for registration or GBR). A list of the wide range of degree courses that are accredited can be found here. I completed my BSc in Sport Psychology at University of Central Lancashire. If you gain a degree that does not have GBC accreditation (e.g. Sport Science) and want to become a Sport Psychologist there are one year conversion courses that you can apply for, a list can be found here .

In the past many Sport Psychologists were aligned to the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (or BASES) and did not have this GBC. Stage one of gaining chartership in Sport Psychology involves either completing one of BPS accredited one year full-time Master's courses, or completing the BPS qualification in Sport and Exercise psychology . I chose to complete my Master's in the Psychology of Sport and Exercise at Loughborough University.

Last year a special route closed for those Sport Psychologists who had been practicing in the field and had gained the experience but did not have this qualification. Since this route has closed the role of BASES has decreased in regulating Sport Psychologists but there are people who have been left caught out by this change and lack of GBC.

The last stage of being able to call yourself a sport psychologist is to work supervised in the field by a Chartered Sport Psychologist, (see pdf document for supervisors) for a period of at least two years full-time and this is the stage that I will be looking to begin soon. This stage is less established and has only been running for a few years and is therefore still in it's infancy in offering clear routes. Once this has been completed then you can start advertising yourself as a sport psychologist and this signifies the high level of training needed. Up until this stage you can only call yourself unprotected terms such as sport psychology consultant, mental coach etc. Individuals using this terms may not have as much training but they may have gone down a more practical route and have great experience to offer or coming from a more sport science background or BASES route.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010


I've started this blog to try and improve my thinking on topics in sport psychology and to try and stimulate debate by others about how it can be effective. I'm coming to the end of Stage 1 of BPS accreditation as a Chartered Sport Psychology by doing my Masters in Loughborough after studying the same topic at undergraduate level at UCLAN. I love thinking of practical, applied use of sport psychology and will try and cover some contemporary topics particularly in football.