Many individuals involved in organized sport experience improved self-esteem, body image and relish the opportunity for healthy competition. Competitive sports, however, can also be a contributing factor to psychological and physical stress. As athletes excel in sports, sometimes pressure to achieve at the next level brings on unanticipated challenges both physically and emotionally. It is well known that athletes, dancers and performers are at a higher risk for developing an eating disorder. When the athletic pressure is combined with performance, aesthetic and appearance pressures of certain sports (wrestling, bodybuilding, crew, running, diving, gymnastics, figure skating), the stakes get high for keeping all of it in balance.
How Can a Clinical Sport Psychologist Help?
We meet with athletes to identify difficulties with body image, maintaining weight for weight class sports, dance companies and navigate the challenges of high commitment eating. If a clinical eating disorder is present, we help the athlete build an interdisciplinary team (sports nutrition, eating disorder sensitive physician, sports medicine, and/or psychiatrist) to strengthen the recovery process. In more severe cases, we partner with residential and partial hospitalization programs specifically dedicated to treating athletes to provide continuity of care for elite, professional and developing athletes with the goal in mind to return the athlete back to their passion in the healthiest, safest and most expeditious way.
Strength and Conditioning
After receiving medical clearance and in collaboration with the treatment team and coach, we support strength and conditioning protocols to minimize the interruption in training. We consult with strength trainers from Donohoe Training who are recovery-sensitive and attuned to the needs of elite athletes and dancers returning to their activity. Training occurs in our state of the art training studio located in The Barn in Carlisle, MA. Training can be arranged at other locations.
We’ve posted an article about this subject titled Eating Disorders and the Athlete.