Applied Sport Psychology Consultants’ Reflections on the Role of Humor in Consultancy: “It's Like Having another Skill in Your Arsenal”

Stephen Pack, Monna Arvinen-Barrow, Stacy Winter, Brian Hemmings

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Abstract

Previousresearch demonstrates that sport psychology consultants use humor to facilitatethe working alliance, reinforce client knowledge, and create healthy learningenvironments. The current study sought to gain further insights intoconsultants’ reflections on the role of humor, humor styles, purposes forhumor, and experiences of humor use. Forty-eight sport psychology consultants completedan online survey comprising open-ended questions. Thematic analysis revealed fourthemes: (a) it’s the way I tell ‘em, (b) it’s the way I don’t tell ‘em, (c) thisis why I tell ‘em, and (d) learning to use humor in consultancy. Participantsused two styles of humor (i.e., ‘deadpan’ and ‘self-deprecating’) each having thegoal of facilitating the working alliance. Although not all participants usedhumor during consultancy, its incorporation might render the working allianceand the real relationship as resources in ways (e.g., a “barometer” thatpredicts consultancy outcomes) previously not considered in applied sportpsychology. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-61
Number of pages8
JournalThe Sport Psychologist
Volume34
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

Keywords

  • humor style, humor outcome, applied sport psychology

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