AASP Annual Conference Experience

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UWS EdD-SPP, CMHC Specialization Student, Erin Cochran recaps her experience attending the 37th annual Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) conference in Fort Worth, Texas

Each year, the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) holds a conference that brings together a wide variety of applied practitioners from around the world and who work with professional and elite athletes; collegiate, high school, and youth sport athletes; and tactical and non-sport performance populations. This year, it was my honor to be able to attend my fourth AASP conference in-person (attended virtually in 2021 due to COVID-19 pandemic) and regain a deep sense of purpose for my future work with clients and research.

One of the best experiences one can have when attending a professional conference is the inherent sense of comradery and connection with like-minded individuals. There’s no better example of this feeling than connecting with fellow counseling and sport and performance psychology students, alumni, faculty and staff from UWS.

AASP Blog Photo

I began the UWS integrated degree program in 2018. When I graduate in spring 2024, I will obtain a Doctor of Education in sport and performance psychology (SPP) and a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling (CMHC) (EdD-SPP, MS-CMHC). Since beginning the program, I have grown exponentially in my professional identity and have nothing but gratitude and reverence for the education I’ve received from UWS. Being able to work full time during my educational pursuits online has been a game changer but can come with the cost of not experiencing the in-person connections you could create in a physical classroom. However, the support and connection I’ve gained throughout my time goes beyond the limitations of a physical classroom and has allowed me to connect with UWS folks across the world. Being able to connect with a few of these influential people every year at the AASP conference is the cherry on top.

The AASP 2022 annual conference featured more than 100 lectures, panels, workshops, lectures, and symposia over four days held at the Fort Worth Convention Center. The central theme across all was based on how practitioners can apply the latest evidence-informed techniques and practices across the performance spectrum to strengthen clients’ “inner edge.”

Here are just a few of the numerous presentations that really stuck with me:

  • Integrated Sport Psychology Services – Perspectives from Major League Baseball (MLB)
  • The Complexity of Treating Eating Disorders and Perfectionism in Athletes
  • Licensed Sport Psychology Professionals’ Roles and Experiences Working Within a NCAA DI Athletic Departments
  • “Life is Like a Marathon” keynote address by Paralympian Tatyana McFadden
  • “Title IX’s New Glass Ceiling: Opportunities, Criticisms and Re-Imagining the Empowerment of Women” keynote address
  • The Development of Psychological Skills Training Programs for Future Health Care Professionals
  • Applying Neuroscience to Enhance Mental Health and Sports Performance
  • “Healing, Not Harming: How a Trauma-Informed Lens Can Change Sport” keynote address

All of these sessions and keynote presentations displayed a clear intersectionality of how clinical mental health counseling skills can directly enhance sport and performance psychology services and vice versa. Following graduation, some of my professional goals include continuing to pursue licensure in the state of Oregon as a licensed professional counselor and either own a private practice or work within an integrated clinic, as well as offer sport and performance psychology programming to NCAA Division I collegiate athletes, specializing in athletic identity work. I’d also like to earn certification as a Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC®). There’s no doubt that being a regular attendee of the AASP conference will help me capitalize on these goals and I will continue to foster relationships with fellow UWS alumni, faculty, staff and students for years to come.

UWS students, alumni, faculty and staff gathered at the 2022 Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) conference in Fort Worth, Texas

More about the EdD-SPP, CMHC program:

The UWS doctorate of education in sport and performance psychology, clinical mental health counseling specialization (EdD-SPP, CMHC) is uniquely designed for students who are simultaneously seeking counseling licensure and advanced sport and performance psychology training to open the door to a wide array of career options.