Elite athletes have schedules that make it almost impossible to visit with a Sport Psychologist on a regular basis. Their travel and training regimens dominate their time and the best they can get is sporadic treatment during down times. However, a new medium for Sport Psychology services is now blossoming—telephonic therapy.
Traditional psychotherapy training frowns on anything other than face to face visits, believing that not being in the same room would render treatment ineffective. However, new studies have confirmed that in many ways, telephonic therapy is preferable, not only because of the convenience and the fact that more visits can be obtained using the phone, but because of the success rates!
This week, for instance, Science Daily reported a new study of individuals suffering post traumatic stress disorder “Obtaining therapy via teleconference is just as effective as face-to-face sessions,” reported Stéphane Guay, a psychiatry professor at the Université de Montréal. “Previous studies have [also] shown that phobia therapy via teleconferencing was just as efficient as face to face contact,” says Dr. Guay, who is also director of the Trauma Studies Centre at the Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital’s Fernand-Seguin Research Centre.
Even people suffering from depression are being successfully treated over the telephone. Researchers from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine found that the average attrition rate in the telephone therapy was only 7.6 percent compared to nearly 50 percent in face-to-face therapy. The telephone therapy was effective in reducing depressive symptoms with results that appear to be similar to face-to-face treatment.
In my own practice, I do see clients in person when they live close by, but using telephonic therapy enables me to work with athletes literally around the world. Imagine the power of being able to call me prior to their events or games and getting refresher tips right when they need them the most. If I want to give them a hypnotic program, I simply record it and email it so they can download the file onto their ipods.
For athletes, as well as non-athletes, having access to quality therapy services on a regular basis is the key to success. Telephonic treatment is a wonderful medium in which to bring about that success.
Jack N. Singer, Ph.D.
Certified and Licensed Sport and Clinical Psychologist
Diplomate, National Institute of Sports Professionals, Division of Psychologists
Diplomate, American Academy of Behavioral Medicine
Certified Hypnotherapist, American Academy of Clinical Hypnosis