Since its inception 25 years ago, The Society of Sports Therapists is frequently asked, ‘What is a sports therapist?’ Even now there is confusion which, not only causes problems, but in many instances misunderstanding about the knowledge and skills that this specific occupational group possess.
I have a deep sense that in my role as a therapist this poem reflects how and what I hope to have and give with my clients. So I end with my poem:
Thus whilst I practice as a therapist I will also attend to my own therapy; I admit to being blinkered to how else I, or any therapist, might work authentically and in the moment for the benefit of our client.
I am clear in my role as therapist I am not engaging with my client to meet my needs, my yearnings for contact and dialogue; this I fulfil elsewhere and with others in my own therapy, with my peers and with supervision.
I see my role as therapist as being with my client and being available for contact and meeting and being available to answering what the human heart yearns for.
Over 15 years ago I recognised a theme in my work of being a catalyst, indeed my very first business company related to my role as a catalyst for change (in business). I believe this recognition is significant to my choosing to work as a therapist.
Yontef points to the role of the therapist as that of a participant-observer of Here-and-Now behavior and catalyst for the phenomenological experimentation of the patient. Yontef (1993, p54).
In my work I am in relation with my client. Our work this last year on Dialogic supported my way of being and drive for this work. When I reflected on my life before commencing the course I distilled my teaching experiences to discover the essential elements of my motivation and satisfaction and found Dialogic to be my attitude. The years following teaching and becoming a therapist I now recognise as barren, and sapping of energy, my dialogic stance.
My reasons for choosing this path are at the heart of my role as a therapist. As I grow in self-awareness I continue to re-evaluate my course of action in the light of new knowledge and awareness, and yet I always come back to my role as a catalyst.
In my role as a therapist I have sometimes found myself in a storm, in a nightmare, with my clients. In this place I am looking to support my client to weather the storm; to see the path, or paths, that present themselves; and to be available in supporting my clients to reach inside and find that illumination, not matter how small or faint, that is theirs; and to offer a shield whilst they bring this illumination forth, kindling and sparking with their own contact with other.
At the same time I am recognising the internal strength that has been with me since commencing therapy and this course. This strength has sustained me to complete the course work and to open myself to exploration in therapy, group therapy and Group Process. This strength has grown and remains with a smooth hardness and sheen of a weathered stone.
In our final workshop of last year we were asked about our motivations for working as therapists and in this essay I have expressed mine: the satisfaction of being in contact; the satisfaction in giving respect as a human being; providing an environment for self growth; my pleasure in seeing this blossom.
Acceptance of being is a basic tenet in working with clients in therapy. The role of the therapist in Gestalt therapy is to accept the person as they are at that moment and in the accepting of what is lies the opportunity for growth and change.
• Sports Therapists are not just first aiders. More significantly they are first responders who have the training, knowledge, skills and expertise to provide immediate care in a first response role. Members of The Society of Sports Therapists are also required to show evidence that they are up to date with these skills, on an annual basis, in order to renew their membership.