The educational pathway of sport psychology in Canada

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University of New Brunswick


The field of sport and exercise psychology (SEP) appears to have two major branches: those in Kinesiology or Exercise Science programs (KES) and those from an Applied Psychology or Counselling background (PC; American Psychological Association Division 47, n.d.). The increasingly common incidence of social and mental health problems in athletes are beyond the scope of sport performance enhancement (Dean & Rowan, 2014; Barnard, 2013; Wippert & Wippert, 2008). Research has suggested that understanding the dynamics of the helping relationship should be emphasized in KES programs, and KES graduates identified a need for counselling skills within their consulting relationships (Portenga et al., 2011; Sharp, Hodge, & Danish 2015). Conversely, there has been concern that PC graduates are not equipped with knowledge and background in the sport sciences (Gardner, 1991; Anshel, 1992). Training and competence in both sport sciences and psychological sciences has been suggested to bridge this gap (Silva, 1989). The current study examines the educational pathway for students interested in applied sport and exercise psychology in Canada.