University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Sport Psychologist
Journal publication date10 Jun 2019
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 Jun 2019


Previous research demonstrates that sport psychology consultants use humor to facilitate the working alliance, reinforce client knowledge, and create healthy learning environments. The current study sought to gain further insights into consultants’ reflections on the role of humor, humor styles, purposes for humor, and experiences of humor use. Forty-eight sport psychology consultants completed an online survey comprising open-ended questions. Thematic analysis revealed four themes: (a) it’s the way I tell ‘em, (b) it’s the way I don’t tell ‘em, (c) this is why I tell ‘em, and (d) learning to use humor in consultancy. Participants used two styles of humor (i.e., ‘deadpan’ and ‘self-deprecating’) each having the goal of facilitating the working alliance. Although not all participants used humor during consultancy, its incorporation might render the working alliance and the real relationship as resources in ways (e.g., a “barometer” that predicts consultancy outcomes) previously not considered in applied sport psychology. 

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