The transnational experience of sport psychology practitioners from training to practice

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© 2021 Elsevier Ltd Objective: Despite a growing body of literature examining the migratory experiences of athletes, limited attention has been paid to the migratory experience of sport psychology practitioners (SPPs). This study explores SPPs’ experiences of transnational migration; specifically, for those who expatriated to receive their training and repatriated to begin their professional careers. Design: Adhering to consensual qualitative research methodology, we conducted a qualitative study using semi-structured interviews. Methods: Following criterion-based sampling, we interviewed six female and four male SPPs who worked in academic (n = 3), applied (n = 3), and governmental (n = 4) environments. We used an analytical procedure encompassing concurrent deductive and inductive processes. Results: Participants described their motivations for expatriation and repatriation. They shared the challenges and benefits they faced throughout their transnational experience, recognizing the value that this experience brought to their lives. In most cases, SPPs shared how their training abroad became a professional advantage, once repatriated. They also described how the process of repatriation was more challenging than expected due to personal and professional difficulties. Conclusions: Participants highlighted the positive influence that their transnational experience had in their personal and professional lives. Their transnational experience helped them grow personally and professionally, and provided them with professional advantages. However, our participants’ stories also highlighted systematic barriers that professional organizations could address to facilitate the transnational experience of practitioners, which would subsequently enhance the cultural growth of the field. Recommendations for professionals engaging in similar transnational experiences are discussed.

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Psychology of Sport and Exercise

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