A qualitative analysis of Swedish sport psychology practitioners’ experience of a continued professional development program

Johanna Belz*, Göran Kenttä, Hayley E. McEwan, Jelena Muetstege, David Tod

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Although sport psychology practitioners and researchers acknowledge the importance of continued professional development (CPD) for professional effectiveness and excellence, few studies have explored the influence of CPD activities on the practitioners' practice and thinking. This study examined qualified Swedish sport psychology practitioners' experiences of engaging in a CPD program and how it impacted their professional development. The Swedish Sports Confederation offers a CPD program that targets performance enhancement services and psychotherapy for sport psychology practitioners. We explored the influence of this CPD program on the professional development of 13 graduates (five females; age in years: M = 41.2, SD = 8.3) via semi-structured interviews. Our stance involved a realist ontology and constructionist epistemology. We followed the six-step Reflexive Thematic Analysis procedures to analyze data. We identified four themes of CPD: (1) Critique (participants decided to do the CPD program because of perceived gaps in their knowledge and skills), (2) Change (participants discussed several changes as a result of the CPD program), (3) Context (participants discussed the aspects of the CPD program that promoted change), and (4) Challenge (participants mentioned issues related to having completed the program). The study provides insights into the value of CPD activities for sport psychology practitioners, advances current knowledge on practitioner maturation, and illustrates how CPD fits within a practitioner's lifelong learning. Future research could investigate the professional development of mid-career sport psychology practitioners engaging in other CPD programs to confirm or extend this work.
Original languageEnglish
Article number14583
Number of pages13
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports
Early online date22 Feb 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Feb 2024


  • cognitive behavioral therapy
  • continued professional development
  • continuing education
  • lifelong learning
  • psychotherapy
  • sport psychology practitioner


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