Episode 78

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Published on:

5th Jun 2023

Sport and Exercise Psychology with Dr Josephine Perry

Show Notes for The Aspiring Psychologist Podcast Episode: Sport Psychology and performance coaching with Dr Josephine Perry

Thank you for listening to the Aspiring Psychologist Podcast.

Another branch of qualified psychology I’ve not yet covered on the podcast is Sport and exercise Psychology. Today I am joined by Dr Josephine Perry, A qualified sport and exercise psychologist. She guides us through what the profession is, how to train and gives us her unique wisdom for how to cope with this modern world and with getting qualified. I’d of course love any feedback you might have, and I’d love to know what your offers are and to be connected with you on socials so I can help you to celebrate your wins!

The Highlights:

  • (00:00): Overview
  • (01:04): Introduction
  • (01:59): Welcome Dr Josie. What is a sport and exercise psychologist?
  • (02:58): Josie’s typical clients
  • (03:53): Josie’s previous career and lightbulb moment
  • (05:37): Getting into psychology
  • (07:04): Self directed in comparison to Clinical Psychology
  • (07:17): Three routes into sports psychology
  • (08:13): BPS route
  • (09:04): Practicing what you preach
  • (09:27): The number of sport and exercise psychologists and where they work
  • (12:00): Wages and the collaborative ethos in the profession
  • (14:02): Support whilst training
  • (15:29): The essential minimum requirements
  • (16:52): Getting research experience
  • (18:20): The number of sports Josie has worked with
  • (19:33): Marianne’s research, orthorexia fitness tech
  • (21:03): Disordered eating and over exercising
  • (22:15): Working out what actually matters
  • (25:19): Self awareness and becoming more conscious
  • (26:23): Testing out the tech and comparing the advice and performance
  • (27:20): Is coaching cheating?
  • (28:57): The way we talk to ourselves and how to improve it
  • (30:37): Athletes mental coaching as well physical coaching
  • (31:17): Amenorrhea in and outside sport
  • (34:18): The impact on the body
  • (35:14): Changing the culture in sport
  • (36:57): Dr Josie’s new book and Will Smith’s book
  • (39:18): What Dame Kelly Holmes teaches us as aspiring psychologists
  • (40:16): Who’s on your team?
  • (41:54): The power of coaching
  • (43:42): Working together for the win in sport and in psychology
  • (45:48): Understanding our limits compassionately
  • (47:40): The long win and making the boat go faster
  • (50:13): Knowing your values
  • (51:28): Josie’s tips for reducing burnout in psychology
  • (53:59): Learning more about Josie and her work
  • (55:18): Josies marathon running
  • (55:44): Free sessions with Dr Josie for aspiring sport psychologists
  • (56:08): Thanks to Josie
  • (56:21): Summary and close

Links:

🌐 Dr Josephine Perry’s website: https://performanceinmind.co.uk/

📱 Follow Dr Josie on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Josephineperry

Links:

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Transcript
Dr Marianne (:

On today's episode, I'm joined by Dr. Josephine Perry, a qualified and regulated sport and exercise psychologist. The episode is gonna be super useful for you, regardless of which area of psychology you are passionate about. There's loads of useful tips and guidance for performance and mindset. And if you stay tuned right to the end, you might find some interesting trips you've also not considered in the past. Hope you find it so useful. It is slightly longer than usual at about 45, 50 minute, but it's well worth every second. Enjoy

(:

Jingle

Dr Marianne (:

Hi, welcome along to the Aspiring Psychologist podcast. I'm Dr. Marianne Trent and I'm a qualified clinical psychologist. Today we have a slightly longer than usual episode and we are gonna be talking with Dr. Josephine Perry. She's incredibly inspiring to speak with and I feel really humbled and honoured that she gave us her time so freely and it was such a pleasure to speak with her. I hope you'll find it useful. I look forward to catching up with you on the other side. Hi, welcome along to today's episode. I'm really very excited to introduce you to Dr. Josephine Perry. Dr. Josephine is a sport and exercise psychologist and also an author welcome along Josephine. Oh, thank you for having me. Thank you for saying yes. I'm really excited to meet you, to get to know you and to help our audience learn more about you and your work, your books, and your career.

(:

So what is a sport and exercise psychologist? Let's start there. So we are trained, I guess, officially in mental skills. A lot of us now call ourselves performance psychologists because we don't just work in sport and exercise. I have clients who are medics, who are entrepreneurs who are DJs, opera singers and lots of athletes. And it is about helping someone get the absolute best out of themselves. So that might be through workshops in clubs and I'll go into lots of sports clubs or work with sports scholars in schools to help teach some kind of general elements. We might be working on how to max out your motivation or how to handle performance anxiety. And then I also work one-on-one with people to really fo’cos on their specific elements, what might be holding them back from

Dr Josie (:

Where they wanna get to. How do they keep going? I, I work a lot in endurance sports. And my background's endurance sports. So I work a lot with people about like, how do you manage to do a hundred mile run? I've got some doing a hundred mile Ultra this weekend. It's like, how do you keep going for a hundred miles when every part of your body is screaming? No. so it's a complete mix of working with teams, helping the teams get better, working together and those individuals within the teams. And then also working with individuals and helping them get the most out of themselves. Amazing.

Dr Marianne (:

It sounds like a fascinating area and I'm intrigued to see how I get beyond three kilometres in a run, , let alone a hundred miles. So hats off to your clients. That's, you know, really, really impressive stuff. How did you get into it?

Dr Josie (:

So I had a previous career as a communications director. And so until 2013 I was working for a company called, or a charity actually called Northfield Health which was lovely cuz I was working in the fitness, the health world. But, but running communications, running campaigns to get people more active. But my, my heart was in Ironman racing, so I was doing long distance triathlons with my husband and we went over to Australia to do Ironman, Melbourne and I was standing on the beach in Frankston, which is where the swim started there and the waves looked horrific and I was really, really scared. And the guy on the tannoy said, you can't control those waves. You can only control how you feel about them. And it was, it was proper light bulb moment stuff of me going, ah, if I used my brain I could be a lot better at this sport stuff.

(:

Cos I was always the really geeky academic kid at school and I was always last out of the changing rooms to ever do any sports. And I suddenly realised I could be a lot better at sport if I actually used my brain a bit more. And I got in the water and I did the swim and I had my fastest Ironman race probably ever cuz I can't see me going back to it. And when I got back to the UK afterwards, I really started looking into sports psychology and I think at the time there was probably only Steve Peter's book around the Chimp paradox and there wasn't really that much else and there wasn't really much information on how to get into it, but I wasn't enjoying my job at all and I had the ability to go and my husband said, we'll just have a year off, have a gap here.

(:

And I was like, yeah, yeah, I'll do that. So I, I quit the job and, and within two weeks I was bored. So I went to do a master's in psychology a conversion course. And with the idea being that, well that would always help understanding behaviour change, if you understand behaviour better, that's gonna help me understand behaviour change. I can go straight back into communications, it will be helpful, but with the idea that that maybe I could pick up the sports side too and I enjoyed that. So I signed up for a master's in sport and exercise psychology. It's usually a one year course. And then I discovered at the end of that if you actually want to be a sport and exercise psychologist, it's another three years training. So I'm not sure I would've gone into it if I'd have properly done my research up upfront.

(:

But I was already halfway down the route by then. So you then find a supervisor and you sign up to the BPS to do kind of, it's not really a training course it's more like you are out working as a trainee sports psychologist but you have lots of boxes to tick. You have many, many, many hours to show of the work that you've been doing. You have case studies to write, you do a large research project that's the equivalent of a PhD level research project. And that takes most people around three years today.

Dr Marianne (:

Okay. So unlike clinical psychology for example, is not the machine that's having a fall with momentum as well and kind of keeping you on track it, it sounds like it's very much just driven by yourself.

Dr Josie (:

Totally. so there are three routes you can take now which has opened up since I did mine. When I did it, it was purely what we call BPS stage two, it's called the QSEP. There is another route that's through bases, which is often for people who've got more of a sport and exercise background rather than a psychology background. I don't know that much about it, but it feels like that one has much more handholding. So there are workshops that you go to as part of it. I don't think you have to do the research project. But a lot of it will be very similar. It's about building up hours of workshops and one-to-one work and communicating and explaining sports psychology processes. And there is also another route that you can do called a professional doctorate. And there's three universities where you would do a doctorate but much more of a practical doctorate than you might otherwise do.

(:

And you do that training alongside it so that, so there's now three routes. But if you've got a psychology background, you're probably most likely to go through the BPS route. But, but it's not, I was explaining to a trainee, I was talking to you today, it's not about following a curriculum and there's no classes to go to in any way and there's no structure. You create it. So to me it feels incredibly difficult. However, when you come out the other side, you are in an amazing position to, to be able to do what you need to do. So it forces you to stand on your own two feet and it forces you to make it work if it works. So if you make it through the process, you'll be hopefully a really good sports psychologist

Dr Marianne (:

Because you've practiced what you've preached I guess. But it feels like there is a niche in the market for someone having a more taught approach and a more formulaic approach that, you know, A plus B or C plus D, you know, and that you come out at the end or, or do you not feel, do you feel like this is part and parcel of becoming the sport and exercise psychologist?

Dr Josie (:

I actually think it is that part and parcel bit. So when I was going through it, I was probably very critical about it and I can absolutely understand trainees frustrations. However, this is not an easy career to have. There are not many jobs in sports psychology. I did actually write a blog post a few years ago trying to figure out how many roles there were, but I would guess there's probably a hundred employed roles as an applied sports psychologist. So there's maybe 20, 25 people that would work for it's just changed its name. It used to be the English Institute of Sport and I think they've become UK based now and they work in the national governing bodies. So you might then work for okay, British Athletics and you would be the sports like for British athletics. It's not something like 20, 25 people there.

(:

Then you have people that work in say the main football clubs, premiership clubs, rugby clubs, cricket clubs, and then you might have some people that work for tasks, which is kind of talented athlete scheme that goes on within universities. That's it for like having an employed job where that is all you do when someone pays your, your salary. Many others are working in universities teaching sports psychology in some way and they will see some athletes on the side. And then the rest of us there are, there's three or four companies that take on sports psychologists. They do performance work usually in corporate worlds actually. So, they'll often be working either in schools doing teaching or they'll work with big corporates, but they'll be coming from the sports angle and the rest of us will run our own private practices. And so there are probably hundreds of people coming out of masters in sport and exercise psychology courses who need to decide can they handle the fact they might basically be running their own business. Where are they gonna go out and look for that work from? So some may be very lucky and get into a paid role, but I have to say the paid roles don't pay very much. I've seen some, I've seen some roles in premiership clubs advertised at around 20,000 pounds a year for someone that's got seven years of training. So,

Dr Marianne (:

And for someone that's got the potential to make them vast amounts of money,

Dr Josie (:

Amazing isn't it? Yep. and their arguments are, but someone will do it so we can get away with it. But if you want to make a decent living, you are probably going to have to be in applied practice, private practice on your own. And I think that means actually the training is probably right for that because you are having to figure out how to make it work. You are having to connect with others, you are having to network. And although it's then a really small sector and it feels like it should be very competitive most of the time it's incredibly friendly and we're all send referrals to each other. So if there's something I can't do, I'm, I've got many other people I can send it onto. There's certain groups I don't really work with anymore because I'm not gonna be a great psychologist for a 12 year old footballer.

(:

I'm basically their Mum and they don't wanna hear from their Mum. So there'll be other people that I send onto and people that referring to me and other psychologists that I'll make connections with and will do work together. And so it's, it's really friendly and really helpful, but that networking in those contacts are really, really important. And so I think it's really important that actually the training reflects that you need to go out and find clients. You need to work out how to market yourself. You are not going to be given very unlikely a role. And when you train the BPS often suggests that you can go into a placement to do your training. And yet when I've asked, I put a little poll out on Twitter and 3% of people had a placement, everybody else was, was finding a way to do it on their own. And so I think the training needs to reflect that.

Dr Marianne (:

Absolutely. And is, is there, is there a cohort at all or are you sort of being taken on individually throughout a year or throughout a, you know, throughout the talk programme?

Dr Josie (:

So Basey has two cohorts a year I think. So then you have more of that feeling that you're with other people and you, you get to share that experience, which I think is really helpful on the BPS route. You just sign up and register when you are ready to do so. So you don't have that cohort in the same way. But some people might well share the supervisor and certainly when I supervise people, I have a group where they talk and they engage and you start to build up those contacts. I have a peer supervision group that I'm on where there's 12 of us who've all been qualified about the same time and we will use that to find somebody else that might be able to help if there's a a difficult situation going on or to be able to get research papers if you need them. So that's one of the other problems is that we are not within organisations most of the time and when you do the training, you're not within a university doing the training and yet all the evidence you put forward in order to qualify must be evidence based. And so you need the literature but there is no way to get the literature. So finding these kind of ways around it and being in groups and working with other people really helps, helps you to find what you need.

Dr Marianne (:

Sounds right. That's very stressful and frustrating.

Dr Josie (:

Yes, very

Dr Marianne (:

Amazing. , I dunno how you've done it. Like hats off to you, hats off to you. And you said there that, you know, with the BPS route that you sort of apply when you are ready that makes it sound like anybody can do it, but I'm sure that's not the case at all. What are the essential minimum requirements?

Dr Josie (:

So you need to have, is it a graduate basis for B BPS membership and you have to have stage one and stage one is a master's in sport and exercise psychology that is accredited. Then you also need an enhanced D B S check and you need to know that you or show that you've got insurance. And then you need two references from qualified sports psychologists. So it, it does take quite a lot of information to pull together. And alongside that you also need to write your own plan of work and that is a significant piece of work to figure out how are you gonna do 2000 hours of one-to-one work, how are you gonna do 2000 hours of research? How are, it's about 400 hours I think of dissemination, of CPD, of ethics work. But it, it's chunky at the time to do but it's really helpful for thinking about how do I go out and get what I need and how do I try and make some money at the same time.

Dr Marianne (:

Yeah and actually that's, I think it makes it more formulaic and it makes you know, which you know, which hoops you need to jump through. And I guess for anyone in any area of psychology it might be helpful to think about that, you know, so even if they're working for example in an assistant psychologist route, I think I haven't got time for research. Well actually if you committed to yourself to think well I've got to do a hundred hours this year of research-based stuff, how are you gonna do that? That's a really interesting and potentially useful idea.

Dr Josie (:

Yeah. And I would really advise anyone starting this process when you think about the research bit because it's so substantial and I certainly, I felt like I was sulking a bit while I did a lot of it because I already had a PhD and I was then being made to do 2000 hours of research when I've already got a higher qualification. I was definitely not in a great place about doing it. But if you can think about what you would like your specialism to be, that's really helpful. So I think it's really important when you're looking at the hours you do training, you get a really good range. So there's certain sports I don't particularly like working in. There's certain groups that I'm not gonna be brilliant with, but you need to know that. So you need to get a really wide range of age groups of both sexes of all the different sports.

(:

I think I've worked in 27 sports now and that's really helpful for then going, which ones do I actually like? Which ones are good, which ones suit the way that I work? I'm really understanding all of that. But when you've done a little bit of that to then be able to go, I think I might wanna specialise in this area so if I've gotta do a research project, I'm gonna make it something that's worthwhile. And if you can make it in something that almost ends up as a product for you or the thing that makes you stand out that's really beneficial. So I did mine in exercise addiction and technology and whether the use, the more you use technology, whether it influences your risk of exercise addiction in ultra athletes and I still use a lot of what I learned today. And it has been incredibly helpful for making that a specialism of mine. So on reflection, I think it is very helpful. It's just frustrating at the time, but it's totally worth really diving in depth to a subject that might well shape your practice overall.

Dr Marianne (:

Mm-Hmm. , thank you. Yeah, and I think with hindsight I might well have picked a different area for my research than I ultimately did because mine was in physical health and actually that's probably not an area that I work in at all. But I think because a lot of my, my postgraduate experiences before I got onto the doctorate were physical health. That's sort of, that was my interest at the time, but it certainly wasn't my interest by the time I finished. Hearing you talk about assisted tech I work and I've written in the media about orthorexia, which is where you're using you know, you're forcing yourself to jump through different milestones and you might be using fitness tech to kind of keep yourself happy and feel like you've attained or achieved. I have a Fitbit, it's hidden under this sling cause I've broken my arm at the moment .

(:

And even being able to look at how many steps I've done is tricky. Cause I can't twist my arm, but I dunno if you know , but recently Fitbit did away with all of their challenges. So Fitbit bingo is now scrapped fit and workweek hustle. You can no longer compete against people. And for me that was one of the main appeals of a Fitbit. So I'm thinking about getting rid of it to be honest, you know, but there's this competitive ethos even within wearing, you know, me and some of my psychology colleagues and friends I went to school with that are, you know, trying to be a bit stuffier than the other. But Orthorexia and Fit tech can be become more problematic than that, can't it? It's

Dr Josie (:

A really trickier area and the whole area around any elements of disordered eating and over exercising because probably for 70% of the population need to probably eat healthier and move more. And there are some policy elements that have been put in place that support that. So calories on menus, there is research that shows for those who are likely to be over reading that is incredibly helpful and I certainly know I will look and I will make different choices based on what they see. So for that group of people, calories on a menu are helpful and help with that decision making. The nudge process for those who've had an eating disorder, they are really, really dangerous. It is an absolute prompt to get you back into that eating disorder mindset and that that eating disorder voice in your head will use the calories it seemed to totally, totally beat you up and it's a horrible place to be.

(:

Similarly with all the information you can get off your phone or your Fitbit for some people to be a bit steppier than the others, really good. To get the feedback can be very helpful for others, really dangerous. And so there is this real mismatch between who uses what. And I will often advise my athletes not to use things like Strava because, and I've really found this when I did that research that I work from an approach called ACT acceptance and commitment theory. And one of the elements I love in it is values. It helps you work out what actually matters to you, not the things that are just easy to measure. And our watch is never gonna tell us what actually matters. Our watch will tell us what's easy to measure. And so we end up validating ourselves and justifying and thinking whether we are a good or bad person based on some measurements on our watch.

(:

Not did I enjoy that run? Did I catch up with my friend who's been really miserable and now feels a lot better because we went for a run together. And so I'll often ask athletes to, to go for naked exercise with no tech. They're allowed to wear their clothes. But I want 'em to do stuff with no tech. I really want 'em to think about how do they motivate themselves, how do they enjoy it when it's not to do with what times or distance or even how many goals they've scored. And I do tend to work with a very specific group of athletes who all have performance anxiety and they all have two traits in common. They're very intelligent and they're perfectionistic. I call 'em VIPs and that perfectionism element means they're constantly trying to beat their watch or beat their friend on Strava.

(:

And it just becomes a really big, I know hammer to beat themselves up with rather than remembering why do I do this? I do it because I enjoy it, I do it because I, I wanna feel fit and healthy. I did a workshop with a school on Wednesday night and we talked about motivation. It was so lovely cuz we we're all filling in post-it notes and sticking 'em all over the place with different elements of motivation and they were just like, I just love how I feel when I achieve a new skill. I love how I feel when I've worked really hard for an hour. Nothing that they came up with was, I like knowing I've done my 10,000 steps a day. So I can absolutely see my challenges and calories and all that other stuff can be helpful for some people, but for people that are already diligent and dedicated to their sport and exercise, they can be incredibly harmful and they can rip all the joy out of what they do. And I don't have an answer because

Dr Marianne (:

Yeah,

Dr Josie (:

I, I don't know how you, you block some people from seeing things, but I think it's really helpful for people to have the self-awareness of I am doing this. Is it helpful for me?

Dr Marianne (:

Yeah, I hear you. Absolutely. It's really incredible and insightful, thoughtful points that you've raised there. And it's interesting when, when I was listening to you and reflecting that initially when I first started going weight training, I would tell my watch afterwards that I'd done it. I'd be like amazing. Like I had 45 minutes exercise cleverly well done. But over time, cuz it was fiddly to do in a faf and my watch didn't automatically recognise that as exercise cuz it wasn't, you know, hardcore enough. I just didn't bother doing it. But I never bothered and, but I still loved doing it, you know, I loved connecting with my personal trainer. Well I'm going to love doing it when I can lift weights again. But yes you know, I was gaining so much more than I ever would've gained from my Fitbit thinking that would've been quite cool.

Dr Josie (:

Yeah, I did an experiment a couple of years ago for, I, I wrote some features for cycling weekly and Garmin gave me their very best model and I followed their training for a month and then I followed my coaches' training for a month. And actually what was really interesting was it was very similar and I would still get my coaches training even when I'm following the watch and some days they would be identical, but I got so much more from having a coach. I got that connection, I got the feedback, I got the chatting through things, I got the understanding. I was having a really tough week work-wise and I had so much going on and there was no point in me going out to do a two hour run on the Sunday because my body just wouldn't be able to take in that training. It was gonna push against them. Very likely I would probably get injured or ill. And so there is so much more you can get from a person than you are gonna get from a watch feeding you things.

Dr Marianne (:

There is for sure. And sometimes some of the clients I work with are who might still be in full-time education for example. And enjoying exercise. And looking ahead to, you know, successful athletes are really reluctant to have any sort of academic coaching cuz they see that as cheating but yet can get on board with the fact that athletes would have you know, coaches, but they can't feel that that's okay for them to almost get a bit of extra help with their academia. How could people think around that?

Dr Josie (:

I guess I, I only see the people that come to me and they're coming for performance coaching and I get a lot of parents that will be saying, can you work with my child on their sports? Can you sneak in some stuff around exam stress? And I know the next month every under 18 that I work with, we won't really be doing much on the sports side. We will be doing it on the exam side but the techniques are identical. So the technique I would use with an athlete or someone going through exams or a senior eye surgeon trying to do a really, really tricky operation that's coming up, they're identical. There are lots of work around psychoeducation understanding why your brain is sometimes giving you really unhelpful conversations going on. And then working on how do you change those conversations in your head.

(:

We'll be looking a lot at being able to self-advocate better lots at the self-talk that you are using lots at the values and why you might have those fears or those anxieties, but you are going to work in line with your values anyway. And then we'll build things like mental skills in, so I think I do a lot with, with those athletes that've got exams coming up might be something like control mapping, what can you control right now and what focus can you put on that? What can't you control and how do you accept that you can't control it and be able to move on? Or things like what if planning every single thing you were worried about that's that could happen. And, and especially the silly things, the always go, there's always a, I know sounds silly but it's like that's what we want on there.

(:

And then we put the well how are you gonna prevent that happening? What can you do in the next few weeks? That means that's less likely to happen but you know what stuff might happen ‘cos it does and that's life and what are you gonna do in that moment so that instead of your threat system kicking in and you not being able to think logically, rationally that you are able to, to keep that thinking that you want. And I would use that exactly the same for someone who's got their first triathlon this weekend and is worried about what might be in the water below them when they're in open water swimming through to someone that's got an exam that they're not sure they've done the right training through, through to an opera singer that's got their first night coming up. You'd have exactly the same techniques. It's just matched to the, the context of the environment that somebody's in

Dr Marianne (:

And it's not cheating, it's optimising and you know, doing yourself a favour.

Dr Josie (:

I mean the amount of practice that athletes do. So I work a lot with swimmers. Most of them are in the pool for like 15 hours a week. I cannot understand why you would spend 15 hours a week in a swimming pool, I hate swimming. And then not spend an hour a week doing some mental skills practice or really planning how you are going to behave when something happens in your race or to prep for that race fully. It's like the, the brain side needs regular, regular practice but it's a tiny amount compared to the amount of physical activity that we tend to do.

Dr Marianne (:

Absolutely. Just before we come on to discuss your amazing book that I'm listening to at the moment, I wanted to talk to you a little bit about amenorrhea. I don't even know if I've said that right. I think I might have done. Yeah. which is where your periods stop. And in sports people it's potentially quite common because of the amount of exercise they're doing, the amount of calorie deficit and all of that jazz. But what I get when I work with people who have that presentation as a result of eating disorders is that they'll say, well it's okay for professional sport people so why is it not okay for me? And I'd really love your all view on that please, Josie.

Dr Josie (:

So it is not okay for professional sports people. It's one ha really harmful to their performance. Two, they will end up with stress fractures long term and they'll plateau and they'll just get burnout so they won't actually be able to improve anyway. Is

Dr Marianne (:

That, is are the stress fractures linked to bone density and or yes. You know, yeah. Oestrogen and calcium and all of that jazz.

Dr Josie (:

Yeah. For male and females. And then third it screws up your fertility long term. So there are many elite athletes who have had to go through IVF for to have their children. And many who amateurs athletes who haven't been able to have children. So it, it was almost seen a while ago, hopefully a while ago as a badge of honour you have trained hard enough that you don't get a period. So it was seen as like a wow that makes you almost elite. And certainly 10, 15 years ago when I first started learning about it, it was definitely that kind of, look at me, I'm good enough. I don't get a period, we now know how harmful that is for you for performance and long-term health. It tends to be known as ill s so it stands for relative energy deficiency in sport and it is often thought of as an accidental eating disorder.

(:

So you are not actively trying to lose weight to change your body shape. What most people do is they step up the amount of exercise that they do without matching that with the amount of calories that they need. And so it, it is often accidental but sometimes it will be, there are still some sports, particularly cycling, running, climbing where there is this whole culture that lighter is faster and so people will try and drop some weight to get faster. And the real problem with it is that that works for a short amount of time. So you've still got the strength you've built up, but very quickly you lose some weight and you are then able to go faster using that strength and then you break. So for women it will be that your period stops. For men it will be they don't get a morning erection cuz their testosterone levels have dropped so much.

(:

And then over time when that continues you start to struggle with energy levels. And the big thing that normally stops people in their tracks is stress fractures, particularly runners because you are not giving your body the hormones that it needs. You are starving yourself in a way and then you are running up and down on bones that are getting very, very damaged. So that's, that's unhelpful for particularly an elite level because you cannot progress. You will then be out for a while and, and it's horrible. But I love the fact that quite a few elite runners have been talking about this and they will explain to people that they have had red s and why it is so dangerous and, and others celebrate getting their periods back. I've had little period parties with clients where we're like high fiving at the screen cuz they've got their first period in a few years.

(:

It feels really odd, but it's so important. And it's about then changing the culture in elite sport that it, we have to talk about this stuff and I will talk about it with male coaches when I'm working with an athlete and I talk to their coach and I'm like, do you know whether they get their period? And they'll be like, Ooh, can't ask a girl that you're like, how do you know if she's healthy enough to do this training that you're setting? We have to make it much more normal to be able to talk about those health markers so that we can make sure somebody is in the best place to do it. And, and we will, we don't really want someone training particularly hard. We'll cap what training somebody's doing at quite a low heart rate until they've had three periods back.

(:

And so it's, it's not just about stepping up the eating, it can be probably a six to 12 month process of getting healthy again. So for elites that's a year out of their career. We absolutely don't want them getting into that state. But for, for regular am amateurs too, that takes so much joy away from what you do. And it, the big thing is it tends to curtail your social life because many of us get into our sport and then we join a club and that's how we get lots of our excitement and we go on training camps together and then suddenly your sense of belonging goes because you don't feel like you belong to that, that group. It's really harsh. So I think we need to talk about it much, much more. And if you've got clients who are saying, oh but elites are allowed to do this, they're not. And more and more is being put in place to stop that.

Dr Marianne (:

Great. Thank you so much for illuminating that for myself and for our audience as well and it's really important stuff to hold onto that we're, we are talking about with our clients. So your most recent book Baby, I think it's your most recent is called The 10 Pillars. And I'm currently listening to it on Audible and your voice is just amazing. I'm loving it and you've got little bits of music in there, I

Dr Josie (:

Can't listen to it. Oh I love the music bits. They that's the best part of writing an audible book is that when you've recorded everything, they've got the most amazing database of every single piece of music you could ever imagine. And you get to kind of go, I really like piano and this and happiness and they'll type it in and then you just get thousands of pieces of music to pick from and choose and play it in the background. It's like the most fun I've had in years.

Dr Marianne (:

It's really fun. It's really fun. And I think it's the only other audiobook other than Will Smith's, I dunno if you've ever listened to his on audiobook. I love his book. His audiobook is amazing cuz he like raps in it. He's got music in it, he's got background and it's like, it's such a good audio book to listen to. It

Dr Josie (:

Is, it's also written ghost written I think by Mark Manson who has written,

Dr Marianne (:

How is it? I didn't realise it'd been ghost written. I thought he'd just done it all himself rather well. .

Dr Josie (:

No, no, no, no. He is, he's written some fascinating psychology books particularly around relationships where again, in his books he's almost it's kind of half podcast where he's interviewed and worked with clients about their, their sexual, their relationship kind of histories and backgrounds as he coaches them through. And so I was listening to Will Smith's book Loving It, but going, this is very well written by an actor and you, I did think it was

Dr Marianne (:

Very well written. And then having seen the more recent, you know, goings on at the, at the Oscars I thought, oh there's a slight mismatching maybe.

Dr Josie (:

Yeah. but I thought from a psychological perspective he just got the psychology of things and I was like listening to it going, there's so many lessons in here about mindset and behaviours and yeah. And ways to go out and achieve great performance. And I, I think the ghost writer really cleverly pulled those out cuz it was almost like I wanted to circle the audio book of going, oh, but this bit, this bit's brilliant.

Dr Marianne (:

So Will's book's good, but yours is also very good. And one of the, I'm quite, I'm quite early on in it, but I am loving it. You interviewed Dame Kelly Holmes yes. And I think one of the bits that's particularly relevant for our current aspiring psychologist audience is when she's talking about individual pursuits but also the importance of the team approach. And I know I think there was a quite high profile it might have been gymnast who was booted off a team for being too self-focused and she was like, but it's an individual sport. I dunno why it matters. But Dame Kelly is saying, well, it does matter. And actually the ability to think about others in your team and others in your industry, not necessarily as competition but as an asset. I really liked what you were saying about that. Could you illuminate us in that area?

Dr Josie (:

Yeah, one of the f when I do my intro sessions with new clients, I'll always ask who's on your team? And, and most of my clients, to be honest are, are individual sports and they're like, oh, I do an individual sport. And I'm like, no, no, no, but who's on your team? Who's on your side? Who's got your back? Who are the people you go to when you are having a bad day, when you need to ask something about training, when something hurts, when you are feeling sad? And we'll really pull out kind of who is on their side. So many of them will have a coach, but it's like, ah, but I've got Fred at training and Fred always is a really good giggle and oh yeah, I've got physio. I go and see if this thing's wrong. And yeah, there's a teacher at school who really seems to get me and we really pull out what are you part of?

(:

And I think that's really helpful and Kelly brought this home beautifully in a really sad section of the interview that I did with her where she talked about in 2004 she was training with an athlete from another country and her coach and the coach had both of them and she didn't feel like the coach had her back. She felt like this other athlete was the number one athlete and she was kind of slotting in and she was really, really miserable. She was self-harming and she, she had this realisation that I, I don't belong here and that's why I'm self-harming. That's why I'm, I'm trying to find a way to feel something. And she changed coach, she joined the GB setup and she went out to training camps with the other GB athletes. She said that was such a huge change for her. So she had the GB physio that she was checking in with regularly.

(:

She had a coach that was on her side and that was the year she won two Olympic gold medals. And so I just thought that was, there's so much more behind it, but it's, it's become her thing. So when she was still training before she got her Olympic medals, actually she created something called on camp with Kelly where she would take younger girls kind of late teens and take them away to really understand it's not just about running a lot, it is about the nutrition, the hydration, the looking after your body, the strength and conditioning, the having people on your side looking after each other. And she really built that up and now she has lots of projects that pretty much started during lockdown where she was doing exercises in front of her alpacas that she has to, to draw people in. But, but I've got friends that loved that cuz they were like, we're all doing this together. It's, it really helped and you absolutely needed that lockdown, especially if you were living on your own of like you've got that solitude, that loneliness and yet for half an hour a day you get to check in with all these other people and you're on and there were Facebook group where you all talking about things and that connection is so powerful. I think that's really important.

Dr Marianne (:

I absolutely agree and one of the things that some of my members have said on the membership is, God, I didn't realise how important everybody else would be that actually I would genuinely care about their success and I would genuinely be concerned for them. And you know, moved when things don't work out for them and it's such an important part of any career, but you know, this psychology career which can feel quite individual, it's, you know, it doesn't always need to feel that way, it shouldn't feel that way. Right.

Dr Josie (:

I, something I always talk about with athletes is that the Latin meaning of the word competition is actually compra, which means striving together. So competition isn't about being better than everybody else, it's about using everybody around you to all be better. And I think we can have such a different mindset when we think like that rather than it's me going up against 20 people for that role or me trying to show that I'm the best to do this. It's like if we all work together, we can do so much cooler stuff. And Simi is the example of if you are on the start line for a big competition as a hundred metre sprinter and your goal is to win and you look across and as you say in Bolt be like no chance, what's the point you've given up before you started? Whereas if you are on that start line and your goal is to get a PB to be the best you can possibly be on that day, you look across and as you're say in Bolt you're like, yes, I'm gonna follow his heels, I am gonna do ev, I'm just gonna follow and I get to be in this competition with the best guy in the world.

(:

This is gonna be amazing. You have such a different mindset, you approach it differently, you will do better. And so, so much in sports but other parts of sectors too are about winning and outcomes. And I am so focused on the more we try and win, the harder we make it for ourselves. Cuz suddenly there's a tonne of threat. And threat as we know changes our physiology and it changes our mindset. If we focus on input, what can I do? What tasks can I do to the best of my ability, we are more likely to do well. And I think that applies just as much to us as psychologists and it's hard cuz I love Sunday afternoons because the athletes I work with will message me about how they've done in their competitions or I'll scroll through Instagram and I'll see that somebody got third or world championships.

(:

Yes they've done it, but it's actually then you also have to remind yourself that their results are not whether we have done a good or bad job actually, if somebody has to pull out of an ultra-competition because their feet were in a total and utter mess because they've been out there for hours, that might be more success because they have learnt to understand their limits better than someone that has been able to override their limits and put themselves into hospital. So as a psychologist I think it's really important to not be focused on that winning bit and even how our athletes do what accolades they get. But it's like how have I helped that athlete yes, be successful but be successful with their own values in a way that matters for them. Not again, coming back to the what does a watch or a measure say and am I measuring my own success on them because that's steps and steps away from what we've been able to input.

Dr Marianne (:

Yeah, I love it. And I'm a mother of two young boys almost 10 they would say and almost seven. And the 10 year old, almost 10 year old will give the almost seven year old a headstart cos of course he's, he's got a little bit shorter than the other one. And I'll watch the youngest, my youngest do really well to begin with until he starts to consider where is my brother at which point he looks over his shoulder slows back ‘cos he's almost like going backwards and it's like you've got to keep looking forwards. Yeah you've got to keep looking forwards ‘cos that means he loses the race every time ‘cos he is so concerned about who's coming from behind.

Dr Josie (:

There is in the book I wrote before 10 Pillars, it's called I Can The Teenage Athletes Guide to Mental Fitness And in that I interview an athlete called Kath Bishop and she's brilliant to follow on social media for anyone. She's just got such an amazing perspective and she's got a brilliant book as well called The Long Win where she kind of re reimagines what success should look like. But when I interviewed her and I've, I've known her for many years now, she talks about she did two Olympics in rowing where everything was on winning and they didn't win. That was all that was cared about. Which, which way were you gonna go when you got on the plane home if you won a a gold, you've got to go in the front of the plane, otherwise you went in the back.

(:

And then she came to her third Olympics and it was gonna be her last Olympics ‘cos she's highly, highly intelligent and she was going off to the foreign office to become a diplomat. So she knew it was her last. And she and her partner Kath Granger went with the approach of let's just see what's possible. Let's move away from this whole, we must win, let's see what's possible, let's focus on the input, everything they did with the what's possible approach. And so in the final she was really conscious of, I cannot think about the outcome because as soon as you think about the outcome in boat, your catch a crab and you're done for an Olympics, it just takes one mistake and there's no chance. So, they, she was just focused, what do I need to do in this moment? What's the thing in this moment to make the boat go fastest?

(:

And they got a silver medal and so when she stopped trying to win, she did brilliantly. But the winning causes us to slow down to look backwards to, to panic and not do things so well. So I, I love the way Kath talks about it because it's always like what can I do at this moment and how do I stop thinking success is an individual result? Success is so much bigger than that but sometimes we need that perspective backwards to be able to see that success for them was being able to focus on what mattered.

Dr Marianne (:

Lovely. And I think that's again so relevant to our audience of aspiring psychologists right now because you might lose your train of thought if you suddenly think about this answer could be the difference between getting offered a place, getting offered a reserve place or getting told thanks but no thanks. And so let's just think about making these moments the best they can be.

Dr Josie (:

Yeah and I don't, something I found can be really helpful with any type of interview element is thinking about it on a more balanced basis. So absolutely it's lovely to be offered a place or a role but it's also your career and you need to know that it's the right place for you. And so being able to think kind of this is just as much for me to see whether this is the right place and actually if you know your values well enough and what matters to you and what you want to go and do, some of those roles you might be going for aren't gonna give you that. And it's really hard to be really focused on what matters most, but you're gonna end up in the right place if you do so to being able to be really clear and not give the right answers but give the answers that that are authentic to you will see you in the right place. And so the more you are focused in an interview then on on my values and what matters and how am I being authentic not on do they give me a place or not, you are more likely to get the right places offered to you.

Dr Marianne (:

Absolutely. I could not agree more. Just before we share the best ways to get in contact with you and connect with you, could you give us your top tip for reducing burnout in the psychology profession and on the way to getting to be where, where you wanna be?

Dr Josie (:

Oh goodness. This is a so hard ‘cos it is competitive and you do wanna be brilliant and we're all in this ‘cos we wanna help people live their lives better and that feels very important so you need to take it very seriously. There was one book that really changed my life called Essentialism and it's a guy called Greg McCowen who talks about when we are really clear what matters to us and what we want to do and we put in place some boundaries to achieve that, we get to say no to a lot more things. And those no’s are normally the thing that when you wake up on a Tuesday morning and it's that afternoon, you're like, ugh, why did I say yes to that? And they're the things we normally say yes to out of fear or obligation or guilt. And when we say yes to those things that don't take us in the right direction, we are basically saying no to the things that do because we are not giving ourselves the head space to make the right decisions or to even go out and hunt.

(:

We, we might say yes to things that come to us, but we're not going out to hunt for the stuff that will actively get us where we want to go. And so I tend to have five filters that I work with my clients that can help them make better decisions in that way so they have less burnout because they've got more energy for the stuff they really want. So the filters, do I have the capacity or do I have the capability to do this well so they don't end up in stress? Will I enjoy it? Cuz life shouldn't be a struggle all the time. There should be some fun stuff too. Does it help me meet my purpose and you'll come onto purpose in chapter four of 10 pillars and that one's super, super crucial. And then does it meet one of my values? And we are never gonna meet all five of those. I mean amazing if we do, but very unlikely. But if you can have two or three of them in place when you've got a decision to make on something, then you're gonna make far better decisions and then you're gonna enjoy what you're doing so it doesn't feel like such hard work and then it reduces burnout or risk of burnout.

Dr Marianne (:

Amazing. Thank you so much. I've found this fascinating. Where can people learn more about you and your work? Jo c

Dr Josie (:

So I have a webpage called performanceinmind.co.uk And there's a section on there called Performance Zone that has lots of blogs and worksheets and things you can download and use. Have the 10 pillars of success, which is 10 kind of psychological traits, characteristics that all the research and evidence shows make you more successful. So things like belonging that we talked about, gratitude, courage, confidence, and then each chapter has a person that you probably heard of that brings them to life and has really used that in order to be successful. Then I've got the teen I can Teenage Guide to Mental Fitness, which is designed for sports, but people see it for music and things which is full of worksheets on, on how to how to handle setbacks, how to be more confident. And then I spend way too much of my time on Twitter. So I am Josephine Perry on Twitter and I try and put out lots of kind of activities and tools that people can use on there.

Dr Marianne (:

Amazing, thank you. And I'd seen on Twitter that you've not long recently done the London Marathon as well. So well done to you.

Dr Josie (:

Thank you. Yes. I think that will be the last marathon in a while. We we're gonna focus on something short and less painful for a little while.

Dr Marianne (:

. Okay, well it's been such a privilege to speak to you and a pleasure and I'm sorry I've kept you much longer than I advertised. So thank you again. That's alright.

Dr Josie (:

Just one thing actually. If anyone does want to get into sports psychology I have a clinic every Monday morning that's free sessions for people to book into to come and ask anything about kind of how it might work with their personal situation or kind of the training they've done to date. So you can find details about that on my website, but that's a way to get much more personal information on sports psychology

Dr Marianne (:

Ideal. Thank you so much and thank you for illuminating this career, which sounds incredible, but also quite tricky as well at times. Yes.

Dr Josie (:

Cool. Thank you. Thank you.

Dr Marianne (:

Oh, I loved it. I loved it. I loved it. I loved it. Thank you again Dr. Josephine, and please, please do follow her on all of her socials. And if you are an aspiring sport and exercise psychologist, do you consider her clinic that she runs once a week too? Come and connect with me on my socials, Dr. Mariann Trent. All of the resources we have mentioned in today's episode are in the show notes and in the description. If you're watching on YouTube, please do like and subscribe to the channel if you are watching on YouTube and listen out for the next episode, which will be available to you from Monday at 6:00 AM Take care.

Jingle (:

Mental health professionals. If you looking to become a psychologist, then psychologist podcast.

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About the Podcast

The Aspiring Psychologist Podcast
Tips and Techniques to help you get on track for your career in psychology
Welcome to The Aspiring Psychologist Podcast with me, Dr Marianne Trent.

What you'll get by subscribing to this podcast is access to free tips and tricks to get yourself feeling more confident about building the right skills and experiences to help you in your career as an a Aspiring Psychologist.

Hosted by me... Dr Marianne Trent, a qualified Clinical Psychologist in private practice and lead author of The Clinical Psychologist Collective: Advice & Guidance for Aspiring Clinical Psychologists. Within this podcast it is my aim to provide you with the kind of show I would have wanted to listen to when I was in your position! I was striving for ‘relevant’ experience, wanting to get the most out of my paid work and developing the right skills to help me to keep on track for my goals of becoming a qualified psychologist! Regardless of what flavour of Psychology you aspire to: Clinical, Counselling, Health, Forensic, Occupational or Educational there will be plenty of key points to pique your interest and get you thinking.

The podcast is a mixture of solo chats from me to you and also the occasional interview with people about themes which really matter to you and to the profession too.

I can't wait to demystify the process and help to break things down into simple steps which you can then take action on. I really want to help fire up your passions all the more so do tune in and subscribe. I love your comments too so don’t be a stranger!

You are also welcomed and encouraged to connect with me on social media:
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Marianne Trent

Dr Marianne Trent is a qualified clinical psychologist and trauma and grief specialist. She also specialises in supporting aspiring psychologists and in writing compassionately for the media.