Practitioners’ narratives regarding active ingredients in service delivery: collaboration-based problem solving

David Tod*, James Hardy, David Lavallee, Martin Eubank, Noora Ronkainen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
124 Downloads (Pure)


Objectives: We examined experienced practitioners’ (N = 21) stories about two of their athlete consultancies, with a focus on their descriptions of the active ingredients involved in service delivery. 

Design: Qualitative interviews informed by narrative theory. 

Method: Consultants (9 females and 12 males, aged 27-46) with at least four years of professional experience discussed two client consultancies during open-ended narrative interviews. Data analysis began with an examination of the narrative structure of the practitioners’ stories, followed by an investigation of the narrative themes. 

Results: The structure of the participants’ stories reflected a collaborative expert problem-solving narrative, in which they described working as experts in concert with athletes who needed help in solving their problems. Narrative themes included the influence of relationships, client allegiance, and active athlete engagement towards service delivery outcomes. An additional theme involved a constrained freedom in which contextual factors influenced service delivery. 

Conclusions: Results had strong parallels with clinical and counselling psychology research, such as the Rogerian narrative to service delivery. Findings also reflected a self-promotional narrative that surrounds psychological service delivery. Applied implications include the value of self-awareness, developing authenticity, and learning to become part of the sport organization’s culture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-358
Number of pages9
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Early online date15 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


  • Service delivery
  • Congruence
  • Theoretical allegiance
  • Applied sport psychology
  • Person-centred therapy


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