14th International Society of Sport Psychology – Presentation by Dr. Chirban

Sharon presented at the 14th International Society of Sport Psychology on a panel “Lessons learnt as practitioners in sport and exercise psychology: A case study approach.” Her case documented the beginning of a Boston Ballet Company dancer’s transition after dancing with the corps (the group of dancers who are not soloists) for ten years through her complete termination. Her transition began post Achilles tendon surgery, due to a Haglund’s deformity. She danced through her rehabilitation of her ankle for three years post-surgery, modifying role selection, intensity of her seasons and number of performances to manage the chronic pain that ensued post-surgery.

Her transition is considered involuntary as it was initiated by external factors (chronic pain due to pre- and post surgery of foot) and eventually led to voluntary retirement. Middleton (2016) explores the career transition process of performing artists and has identified three types of transition: transitioning from training to professional work; transitioning due to voluntary or involuntary factors and transitioning due to retirement. This case was discussed within the context of the existing literature. Stambulova (2010) has identified a counseling framework for helping athletes with their career transition. Her framework includes mapping out the dancer’s past experiences and integrating it with the present and perceived future. This case will demonstrate some of the stages identified by Stambulova and also how this dancer uniquely staged her own transition to a new vocation.

A fully integrated self, marked by a transitioning identity is a bit of a moving target. This case was discussed within the context of self-integration from a psychodynamic standpoint. In order to fully integrate the post-dance transition, the dancer is required to make meaning of both autonomous and relational aspects of herself that can be facilitate within the context of a consulting relationship sensitive to those aspects of self-evolution.

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