Post 3: How the UWS SPP programs prepares students to build their careers in this growing profession
By: Sarah Castillo, PhD, CMPC, UWS sport and performance psychology program director
Welcome to 2023 and welcome back to the blog! Here’s hoping your holiday season was filled with family, friends and joy.
In the first two blog posts (Pt. 1 of “What is Sport and Performance Psychology?” and Pt. 2), we discussed the continuum of mental health and the role of sport and performance psychology (SPP) practitioners in serving the needs of performers. In this third and final installment of the blog, I’m excited to share how the UWS SPP programs prepare students to build their careers in this growing profession.
Without a doubt, the most important relationship in the development of the SPP programs is the relationship between the program directors for clinical mental health counseling (CMHC) and SPP. Although we’ve been trained very differently, Dr. Michelle Rose and I share a very similar vision for the ethical training and practice of SPP. Beyond that… we truly like each other and are friends! Because our students share so much coursework, we work together to develop CMHC and SPP classes that blend to meet the needs of each student population.
So what are those SPP classes anyway?
Students in the SPP programs come to University of Western States (UWS) for a variety of reasons. Some have the end goal of working as a Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC®) with individuals or groups, while others want to expand their current career to include performance psychology, while still others want to improve their coaching and leadership skills. For this reason, we’ve designed the core of our SPP programs to include coursework we find to be foundational to an understanding of sport and performance psychology, regardless of how our students plan to use their degree.
In each degree program, students meet all the coursework requirements to obtain certification as a CMPC® through the Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP). We have specific required classes that meet each of the eight required knowledge areas and keep up to date on any changes in those areas so we can make adjustments when needed.
We’ve also got a large selection of elective courses that allow students to broaden their educational experience and truly personalize their degree to their career goals. Courses such as “Performance Psychology in High-Risk Occupations,” “Psychology of Athletic Injury and Rehabilitation,” and “Business Basics for Clinicians and Consultants” have been incredibly popular!
Finally, for those students who have specific career goals in clinical mental health counseling, performance consulting, or leadership, we offer specific concentrations in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (EdD), Applied Practice (MS), Positive Coaching (MS), Sport and Performance Psychology Consulting (EdD), and Positive Leadership Administration (EdD).
What else do I need to know?
Online educational programs present unique opportunities. At UWS, we’re looking for students who have a passion for SPP, have demonstrated academic success and possess a high level of internal motivation. The most successful SPP students are connected to their classmates and faculty and never miss the chance to ask a question. The diversity of the students in the SPP programs is our greatest strength!
One of the exciting things about our online program is that our faculty come from all over the world! Because we can connect from anywhere, we’ve been able to put together a faculty with expertise working in a variety of performance populations, a diversity of training and experiences, and informed perspectives that will challenge you to broaden your perception and understanding of the topics you study.
You can probably tell that we’re not only passionate about the field of sport and performance psychology, but also about the programs we’ve created at UWS to guide our students toward their academic and career goals. For me personally, I’ve never worked with such a dedicated group of faculty, all laser-focused on doing what it takes to help our students be successful, from early-morning Zoom meetings to restructuring a series of courses to offering students the opportunity to participate in their research.
I hope you’ve learned a bit about the philosophy and culture of the UWS Sport and Performance Psychology programs! Myself and our dedicated admissions advisors are happy to chat with you more if you have more questions about why the UWS SPP programs are right for you.
Thanks for reading!