I write this blog as votes are being cast for the next chair elect of the British Psychological Society Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology (DSEP). As you might already be aware I have put myself forward as a candidate. One of the reasons for this is my passion for, and commitment to, helping our profession to move forward. I feel that as a profession we still have not resolved the issues that arose from the introduction of the HCPC register in 2009. This has resulted in greater fragmentation and a lack of clarity for clients. There has also been an intense focus for a number of years on qualification routes, which has eaten up much time and resources within the relevant organisations. The result of which has been a less that optimal deal for the members throughout the profession.
We appear to have reached a point though in the UK where there are significant reasons to be optimistic about the future. The Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology has been evolving and building in the last few years. The current DSEP committee under the leadership of Dr Jamie Barker has developed a strategic plan that is focused on further enhancing many aspects of what the Division does, and the benefits available to members. In the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) there have been rapid advances with the return to discipline-based Divisions. The Psychology Division under the leadership of Dr Chris Harwood has also been rapidly regaining lost ground in supporting sport and exercise psychology-focused members.
In putting myself forward as the DSEP chair elect I want to build on the excellent work and initiatives of the current committee. I feel that DSEP could be better connected with International organisations, and could communicate even more effectively with its membership. The BASES publication ‘The Sport & Exercise Scientist’ offers a real benchmark against which this could be measured. I would like to see the development of a DSEP e-magazine that fulfils this function. This in turn could help to further engage a broader range of the current DSEP membership. There are many lessons that could be learned from the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) in further engaging the full-time practitioners out there within the field.
I also feel that there is a real need to develop a coherent integrated plan for the profession that involves BASES, BPS and HCPC. The lack of clarity or coherence of message has meant that most of the market does not understand who we are, what we should do, or what qualification we should look for. I am of the view that like in other professions such as physiotherapy HCPC registration should be the one thing that we promote. I believe that having a BASES route to achieve this would be massively beneficial to the professional, and to DSEP. The greater clarity among potential clients would benefit DSEP members and trainees completing the BPS Qualification in Sport and Exercise Psychology. I know there are hurdles for BASES to overcome to achieve this, but I feel it would be a positive development for the profession.
It would be fantastic to see a coherent record of CPD opportunities for the profession. The BPS, BASES, and other organisations (such as the Institutes of sport or national governing bodies) offer some great CPD options. However, the communication of some of these can be limited. An integrated CPD list I believe would be beneficial to all.
Finally, I believe that the solution-based approaches being adopted in both BASES and the DSEP offer real hope for the future of the profession in the UK.