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29 Декабря 2018 Журнал "Спортивный психолог"

Виды спорта: Общеспортивная тематика

Рубрики: Спортивная наука

Автор: Лукичев Владимир Владимирович, Косс Виктор Викторович, Афанасьев Вадим Геннадьевич

On the question of somatic experience productivity as a method of psycho-emotional and psychosomatic regulation of the state in highly qualified athletes

Keywords: athletes, somatics, stress disorder, motivation.

Abstract. The article is devoted to the working out of the newmethod of psychoresonancefor professionalathletes. Worked out the new method and recommendations for it implementation into athletes training practice.

The relevance of the study. Nowadays it is necessary to speak about relevance of the organization of the qualified psychological and pedagogical maintenance (further - PPS) of sports activity not in the mode of academic speculations, but in the context of the solution of urgent problems. We see how tacitly taken as a basis, the "pharmacological approach" to optimizing the performance of athletes in competitive practice does not justify itself, compromising athletes and putting in a difficult position sports federations at the highest level. In this situation, the need to form a comprehensive system of psychological and pedagogical assistance to the sports process comes to the fore, in which an effective method of self-regulation of psycho-emotional and psychophysical well-being of the athlete becomes one of the key tools, along with the reasonable use of medical and biological approach and other measures of sports support. However, it is not enough just to declare the relevance of such a task, it is necessary to analyze the readiness of the environment to translate the actual and in-demand into real and effective. In this article, we partially share the annoyance of one of the brightest modern researchers of sports psychology Safonov V.K., when he states the following: "it can be stated that in the 21st century, as 30 years ago, there is a dismissive attitude to the psychological provision of training of athletes by sports functionaries. A striking example of this is the last Olympics of our century, when the task of psychology in sports was formulated unambiguously - to set the athlete to win. This ignores the fact that the psyche has the ability to regulate the somatics of the body. Functional injury is always associated with the manifestation of inadequate mental reactions to stressful situations of sports activities. Sports loads lead to psychological overstrain and, as a consequence, reduce the adaptive (primarily mobilization) capabilities of the psyche. As a result, there is an increase in functional costs for the performance of activities, a decrease in the functionality of the athlete, the probability of functional injury increases" [14].

In this quotation, Safonov not only indicates a lack of attention to professional and systemic psychological and pedagogical assistance to sport, but also, in fact, describes the mechanism of psycho-somatic communication, showing how omissions associated with working out complex mental states1 of an athlete can lead to negative somatic consequences. Thus, the first question that we should ask is whether there are any complex systems of psychological and pedagogical support for sports today, and if, yes, then have special techniques been developed in their context that take into account all the subtleties of the psycho-somatic processes of the human body and are aimed at harmonious regulation? Certainly, in the framework of one article, we will not be able to conduct a full literary analysis of Russian and foreign sources claiming to solve the problem of organizing an integrated PPS sports activity. However, in order to make the task easier for ourselves, we will try to give our own basic definition of the conditions under which it can be argued that the psychological and pedagogical support is truly complex. To this end, we will identify three basic blocks of the diverse activities of the sports psychologist within the framework of the faculty structure. With the cardinal difference of tasks, these blocks are closely interrelated and complement each other. Let us describe them in brief:

  1. Diagnostic-prognostic (set of diagnostic programs developed by the program-targeted or other method, methods of prediction of variable objects: from the effectiveness of training plans to the performance of an athlete in a competition, specific methods for implementing diagnostic and prognostic procedures and work with the data)
  2. Psycho-pedagogical (upbringing and motivation, implementation of psychological work in the triad of a psychologist-trainer-athlete, observation and maintenance of an athlete in the context of a training cycle, pre-competitive preparation and post-competitive rehabilitation, lecturing, interviewing, assistance in solving social and psychological issues)
  3. Correctional-developing (usage of the system of psychocorrectional measures of influence on an athlete: individual counseling, training, development and implementation of methods of psycho-emotional and psychosomatic regulation of athletes, work with extreme situations (trauma, withdrawal from competitions, experiencing grief or loss), etc

Thus, within the framework of our article, we will consider the techniques of self-regulation as the main element of the correctional-developing unit in the sports teaching staff system.

Now let us turn to one of the classic works -"Psychopedagogy of Sport" Gorbunov G.D. [3], as, of course, matching the criteria proposed above, and we will try to understand what methods of correctional and developmental impact are proposed by this work. The monograph was chosen by us not by chance. The fact is that the main thesis of the author is a refrain that sounds throughout the work, is the statement that "theoretical psychology uses sport to obtain the necessary data, but does not give athletes anything to get results" (Gorbunov G.D.). it is precisely the "influencing" technologies, in this way, where, if not here, to seek an exhaustive answer to our question?

So, in his work, the author identifies such structural elements of the psycho-pedagogical complex as:

  • psychodiagnostics
  • psychological training of an athlete
  • the process of education in the system of psychological preparation of an athlete
  • the process of self-education in the system of general training of an athlete
  • psychoregulation, as a recovery method
  • correction of mental states in order to strengthen the athlete's ego defenses at the final stage of preparation for responsible competitions

The author's conviction affects the substantive part of the work, where Gorbunov mainly describes the diverse ways of pedagogical, psychological and psychocorrectional impact on the athlete. And in the field of his interest, both classical methods of pedagogy: "suggestion", "conversation", "motivation", "advance payment", and methods of "hypnosis and autogenic training" fall into the field. Describing the actual psychological arsenal of technologies, Gorbunov pays attention even to such non-trivial methods as the "psycho-energetic trance" used to restore an athlete after heavy training loads or competitions.

It would seem that the answer was received, we reviewed the complex system of PPS sports and found in it a significant list of techniques for influencing the psycho-emotional state of an athlete.

However, we will not be in a hurry, let's carefully read what the author is offering us. First, his main desire to saturate the faculty system with "acting technicians" forces him to constantly increase the degree of intensity of exposure: for example, you can see hypnosis in the pedagogical and upbringing techniques section. With all due respect to the author, to consider hypnosis as a "pedagogical" tool is not only incorrectly, but also rather risky. Hypnotherapy is indeed an effective method and one of the schools of directive psychotherapy (and the phenomenon of hypnosis has a centuries-old history since the "mystical experiments" of Anton Mesmer, from which the original name of the method came out - "mesmerism"), but mastering this method requires a long training where the student receives not just technical instructions and mechanically performs certain manipulations, but also learns about the special patterns of the psyche and the brain in a state of hypnosis, gets acquainted with "with the ethics and safety conditions) of the method and undergoes personal therapy.

Further, most of the methods proposed by Gorbunov absolutely correspond to the imperative, which Safonov ironically said in his article - "set up an athlete to win". This subject - an objective or instrumental, if you will, approach, in our opinion, does not correspond to the spirit of humanization of modern sports, ignoring of which gave rise to the "pharmacological crisis".

It is necessary to be objective and pay tribute to the work "Psychopedagogy of Sport", where the author still devotes quite a few chapters to helping the athlete overcome stressful and crisis situations, talking about relaxation and rest technologies, but even here we will not ind explanations for the deep psychodynamic problems that often affect the performance of an athlete is no less than "overtraining", "pre-start anxiety" and other factors limited solely by the specifics of sports activities.

And, finally, it is extremely important to pay attention to the fundamental difference between the concepts of the holistic method and individual techniques, as different structural-hierarchical levels of work of the psychologist and the practitioner. The method is a set of techniques connected by a single conceptual representation and structured in a sequence that solves various tasks on the way to the realization of the main goal of the method. Thus, it would be incorrect, speaking of the method, to cite separate psychological exercises or modifications of various trainings, which, unfortunately, is often done even in the specialized literature, is not free from this confusion and "Psycho pedagogy of sport". Such an error leads the reader to the illusory feeling of a huge variety of methods of psycho-emotional and psychosomatic self-regulation in modern sports, which does not correspond to reality. However, this is not only a matter of theory, but, first and foremost, practice: no spontaneous or even superficially structured sequence of techniques will ever be equal in its effectiveness to a well-developed method: an athlete can randomly tackle various projectiles in the gym, make an arbitrary number of sets and reps. The result may be some strengthening of muscles or injury, as a result of unbalanced loads, and only when an experienced trainer offers a beginner a method of training his progress will be much more significant, and the probability of injury will decrease.

Now that we have found some obvious deficiencies in the theory and practice of the teaching staff of the sport, it's time to make a reasonable proposal.

In 2018, within the framework of the research and development project "Developing and Implementing Scientifically Based Proposals for Creating a System of Comprehensive Psychological and Pedagogical Support for High-Qualified Athletes by the Program-Target Method and Prognostic Analysis", a group of specialists from HB-Assistance (St. Petersburg) carried out work with high-qualified athletes. In total, it was attended by 120 athletes representing: wrestling, cycling, rowing and canoeing, hockey and sailing. The aim of the project was the development of scientifically based recommendations for optimizing the teaching staff of highly qualified athletes. Among the complex of tasks that were solved by specialists, there was also the task of developing the author's method of self-regulation of the psycho-emotional and psychosomatic state of athletes. Such a technique has become the technique of Somatic Experience (Somatic Living), which is discussed below.

Somatic living: a method of physical therapy in the history of psychology. Any scientific knowledge develops by accumulating and then overcoming the experience contained in the current scientific paradigm. In the present situation, "grassroot invention" immediately gives rise to suspicion, since any of the scientific fields has already accumulated a number of fundamental ideas that, one way or another, must be taken into account in the new development and although the practical psychology and psychotherapy of the field are still quite young, but here there are already some solid empirically proven ideas and theoretically grounded points that need to be taken into account when talking about the development of an "innovative methodology". So, the first thing we need to point out is the "genealogy" of our methodology in the history of psychology and psychotherapy. This pedigree begins with the teachings of one of Sigmund Freud's irst students and colleagues, Wilhelm Reich. Wilheim Riech (1897-1957) was Freud's first clinical assistant from 1922 to 1927. Then he had theoretical differences with his leader, since Reich believed that every neurosis is based on the absence of sexual satisfaction, while Freud saw this is reductionism and simplification of its own method. Reich focused his research on the question of how a person retains libidinal impulses and soon came to the conclusion that a specific muscle group is involved in any act of "retention". Over time, muscle fixation becomes chronic. So we acquire our "muscular armor", which forms and originality of our neurosis or character, which is absolutely identical in terms of Reich's teachings (which is why researchers of Reich often use the concept of "characterological-muscular shell"). Reichian therapy was aimed at consistent release from typical muscular clamps and release of vital energy. During the session, the client had to perform a number of manipulations with his own body, as in the European tradition, the first "body therapy" was born.

Since then, quite a lot of specialists (Alexander Lowen, Ida Rolf, Peter Levin) have passed in the direction set by Reich introducing their concepts and methodological arsenal, but the essence of physical therapy has always remained unchanged - the discovery of the "physical blocks" of various genesis and the discharge of mental stress associated with them.

The Somatic Experience technique (Somatic Living) takes as a basis the "Somatic Trauma Therapy" by Peter Levine, who asserted that in the course of our life we meet with a special type of psychosomatic experiences - "traumas". Trauma is the "environmental impact that is greater than the body's ability to resist" (Levine, 2006). Levin pointed to several types of injuries, among them: shock, medical, birth trauma and psycho-emotional trauma. For the scientist, the most important consequence of the trauma was the nervous excitement locked in our body and psyche, connected with the mobilization of the body to the basic instinctive responses: "flight" or "struggle" and unresolved due to the impact of the traumatic factor. A classic example of a "shock" injury can be a sudden attack on a person: at this moment the endogenous processes in our body dramatically change their character, causing the psyche to instantly mobilize. Now imagine that in this state of peak excitement someone hits a person from behind and he instantly loses consciousness. Mobilized energy does not find relaxation (as it involuntarily occurs in many animals through neuromuscular convulsions, after consciousness returns) and gradually generates psychopathological products. Among the diverse symptoms of an incomplete traumatic reaction, Levin called: disturbed sleep and appetite, apathy, decreased general tone, the occurrence of regular pain of obscure genesis, uncomfortable experience changes in bodily sense of mind (unnatural ease or vice versa heaviness in limbs, chest, stomach or genital area) etc. The most serious consequences which are indicated by a scientist who has worked part of his professional biography in rehabilitation clinics for war veterans is - PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) with psychotic manifestations, in fact, disabling the person.

Based on the concept of Levin, we were guided by the following considerations:

  1. Sport - extremely traumatic sphere (shock, medical injuries)
  2. That is in the sport of records an athlete needs to maximally fully mobilize his musculoskeletal potential, which is simply impossible with the presence of active traumatic experiences.
  3. Intensive training process makes an athlete extremely susceptible to the bodily process associated with specific motor loads and assessing his own functional state in the context of the implementation of specific training tasks, but, paradoxically, dulls the sensitivity to subtler processes associated with the diversity of his own somatic experience.
  4. Very often, where it is necessary to work out and resolve a traumatic experience that manifests itself through a number of symptoms familiar to a specialist working in the paradigm of bodily therapy and SBT in particular, supporters of the medical-biological approach use pharmacology, which leads to the extinction of symptoms, but also chronicles injury that not only does not give the athlete a chance to mobilize latent psychosomatic resources, but also, in the long run, leads to a decrease in his productivity, up to a complete inability to manage sporty tasks without constant pharmacological correction.
  5. Even in the absence of severe traumatic symptoms in an athlete, the technique provides a whole range of useful skills, which are usually the methods of self-regulation (concentration, relaxation, the ability to accurately and deeply assess your functional state, use bodily resources in training and competitive processes).

"Somatic Experience": the sequence of tasks, the correct understanding of the procedural aspects of work and their ultimate meaning. When we work according to the method of "Somatic Experience" (hereinafter referred to as SE) of trauma, we need to master several special skills that are not available in everyday life and without which substantial progress in this work will simply be impossible.

  1. Formation of the basic consciousness of the somatic experience
  2. Obtaining an experienced understanding of the traumatic and resource somatic experience of one's own body
  3. Titration: the use of resource somatic experience to resolve the traumatic experience

It is important to note that in this case we will consciously avoid the psychotherapeutic aspect of this method, since regular psychotherapy requires a specially organized context, which is absolutely irrelevant for the situation of the training process of highly qualified athletes. Thus, we will focus on those elements that can be used in a procedural and training format, without intensive immersion in group psychotherapy and psychotherapy in a group, and which will allow athletes to develop skills for self-regulation and constantly progress in them.

Below we will look at each of these skills sequentially.

1. The formation of the basic consciousness of the somatic experience (CSE). To most of us, athletes seem to be over-competent in matters related to the awareness and development of their own physicality, but this is not entirely true, and often things are quite the opposite.

Above, we have already said that regular and intensive training makes athletes sensitive to a particular way of psychomotor behavior, directs reflection on certain muscle groups and related motor tasks, and an athlete may be completely insensitive to various somatic experience that takes place in the body.

Very often, in the course of practical work with a group of athletes in response to the question "How does your body feel now?", we get the invariable answer "Normally", and when specifying the question: "What is happening in your body now?" - athletes usually lead rough "peripheral sensations": "I want to sleep", "I want to go to the toilet", "I'm tired", or they find it dificult to answer at all, since these questions have no connection for them with a practical motor task and expose complete incompetence in the matter of somatic experience, cl sequences and block any possibility for the development of somatic self-control, so necessary for the optimization of the training process.

1. Getting an experienced understanding of the traumatic and resource somatic experience of your own body. The concept of "psychological resources" and resource experiences is not new in psychology. Very often, the concept of positive coping is synonymous with psychological or personal resources. One way or another, this concept reflects the ability of an individual to overcome internal or external discomfort with the help of certain skills, qualities, abilities, etc.

Often resources are divided into external and internal. To the internal we refer: temperamental, characterological, personal and behavioral characteristics of a person, and to external: objects, situations, conditions and other people (the latter, in our opinion, raises a number of problems and requires the introduction of an idea of "intermediate resources, that is, resources related to interpersonal relationships that can not be uniquely attributed to either external, nickname internal)

In the context of the work of P. Levin, resources are most often considered as a special somatic experience that allows one to cope with one or another traumatic experience. The basic carrier of such resources are sensations. That is why, in order to master this effective work with resources, it is necessary to go through the first step described by us above and to work out the awareness and tracking of sensations.

We know that sport is one of the most traumatic activities in which people can be involved. However, working according to the methodology of the joint venture with athletes, incl. the most highly qualified, we will definitely face a simplified understanding of trauma, trauma experiences and traumatic consequences.

For example, for a fighter athlete, the "traumatic experience" will be exhausted by the idea of getting a specific physical injury, pain, motor discomfort, recovery process and its final result, which, again, will be considered through the presence of pain and freedom of motor activity.

However, this approach completely ignores the "subsurface part of the iceberg." Thus, in the course of our work, we need to expand our understanding of the traumatic experience, give a detailed description and make an experimental demonstration of a particular somatic experience that indicates the incompleteness of the traumatic experience of this or that athlete.

Let's make a symptomatic structure of this experience and divide traumatic experience into negative somatic experience and the external expression.

1. Somatic experience indicating the incompleteness of a traumatic experience may include:

  • decrease or loss of sensitivity in a particular area of the body when you try a mental scan of your own body
  • feeling of "freezing", "obstacles"
  • feelings of "separation of the body into parts"
  • feelings of "alienation" of one or another part of the body ("a leg as not your own")
  • sensations of constriction or unpleasant stress
  • spontaneous occurrence of pain

2. External manifestations of a continuing traumatic experience can be expressed in:

  • sleep disturbance
  • increasing alarm
  • mood lability
  • decrease in training motivation
  • reducing professional self-esteem

It is very important to note that even when experiencing and realizing some of the anomalous manifestations from the above list, an athlete may not consciously discuss them with the trainer and medical staff, because of fear of falling into the category of not sufficiently reliable for health reasons, falling out of the training process, skipping competitions, etc. This fact further reduces the likelihood of successful study and exit from a traumatic experience.

3. Titration: the use of resource somatic experience to resolve the traumatic experience. Initially, the term "titration" existed only in the context of experimental chemistry and meant the determination of the content of a substance by gradually mixing the analyzed solution (for example, acid) with a controlled amount of reagent (for example, alkali). The end point of the titration (the completion of a chemical reaction) was set by changing the color of the chemical indicator.

Nevertheless, Levin often uses this term in his work, giving it a metaphorical hue and indicating that the psychic dynamics unfolding when working through a traumatic experience with the help of resources is very similar to the description of a given chemical process.

The following postulates are extremely important for a correct understanding and implementation of psychological titration:

  • In the course of this practice, we introduce into interaction, both traumatic experiences and resource experiences.
  • The balance between negative somatic experience and positive body resources should be strictly observed and always be in favor of the latter. Incorrect forcing the residence of a traumatic experience with a lack of resources can lead to the effect of retraumatization and consolidation of negative experience
  • Traumatic experience cannot be understood as the totality of all injuries and failures that occurred in a person's life; each experience must be worked out isolated until complete resolution.
  • A complex traumatic experience must always be viewed as a set of elements of experience (dividing an injury event into fragments) and for each of these elements a corresponding "titrating" resource must be found.
  • The same symptom can be worked out several times until the patient has not found a complete change in the nature of the sensations
  • During the work of an experienced psychologist and his client, the first tries to turn to the internal bodily resources of a person, sometimes assisting him in case of certain difficulties, but in this work it is possible to attract a "social resource", that is, close colleagues (community members or also undergoing or undergoing similar training). To manage the social process, it is necessary to create special conditions for group work, which must be agreed in advance with all participants in the psychological process, as well as with the administrators of such work.

Recommendations for the implementation of the methodology in the system of training highly qualified athletes in the context of complex psychological and pedagogical support. First of all, it is necessary to point out the temporal, structural and format-forming aspects of such work, which are obligatory to perform, if we want to get the maximum therapeutic effect from the above method. Stages of work:

1) Information: (total duration 3 hours), format - lecture, discussion, answers to questions. Number of classes: 2-3 (depending on the possibilities of integrating work into the fabric of the training process)

2) The first practical unit: (total duration 4 hours) procedural diagnostics of the functional state of athletes, identifying the individual specifics of negative psychosomatic and psycho-emotional experiences. Format: 2 process groups (1.5 hours) + 1 group (summarizing the experience, using individual self-assessment questionnaires of the state).

3) Second practical unit: (total duration 5 hours) "Formation of basic consciousness of the somatic experience (CSE)" Format: 5 training meetings for 1 hour, between meetings, athletes receive individual "homework" from the host, aimed at replenishing the deficit zones (" gaps ") in awareness

4) Third practical unit: (total duration 10 hours) "Resources and Trauma": athletes gradually master the experience of using somatic resources and learn to recognize traumatic symptoms. Format: 10 procedural groups for 1 hour. Athletes begin to keep diaries of self-observation, which are used both in groups and outside of them.

5) Fourth practical unit: (total duration 15 hours) "Titration": relying on the support of a trainer, athletes learn to work through traumatic experiences using the resources of their own body. Format 15 procedural groups, each for 1 hour. 10 groups the therapy process is carried out exclusively by the coach, 5 final groups he carries out his work with the help of involved assistants from among the most interested athletes in order to maximize the effect of mastering the process by the group, stimulate independent work and rally the team, covering it with a single process of mutual assistance.

6) The fifth practical unit: "Maintenance and maintenance." Individual psychological correction work with "difficult cases" and individual counseling for athletes in the process of self-mastering the new experience of self-regulation. It is carried out throughout the work and "on request" of any of the participants of the work.

The necessary conditions:

1) The group should not exceed 15 people. If the number of athletes involved in the work is much larger, 2 or more parallel groups can be formed.

2) Practical work should take place in a room large enough to accommodate all participants in the process. At the time of work the room should be as isolated as possible from any external intervention: the sudden appearance of people not participating in the work, annoying noises and so on.

3) The necessary stimulus material and material support of the process are discussed by the host and the representative of the team in advance

Somatic work aimed at improving the skills of self-regulation, of course, has a number of features that must be taken into account in order to achieve completeness of the therapeutic effect and minimize any kind of risks associated with this method.

Among these risks are the main ones:

  • lack of effectiveness or low efficiency of the method
  • catalyzation and "incompleteness" of complex experiences in the training participants

As we see, the main risks are, in fact, polar in nature: from the likelihood of the absence of any effect to the probability of excessive affectation. However, in both cases, the same reasons often lead to undesirable consequences.

1. The lack of effect is usually associated with the negligent attitude of athletes to participate in psychological work. There is no regularity, consistency, understanding and seeking competent support in the work, in case of need clarification of the purpose and tasks of independent work. It is possible and opposition from the coaching staff, for one reason or another, who consider the work of little value or "taking too much useful time."

Also, problems may also be related to external disorganization of the work process: training participants are not provided with enough information for independent work, assistants of the leading psychologist from among the most interested participants of the sports team or coaching staff who are able to motivate athletes to undergo independent work are not prepared and specially trained basic somatic therapy skills.

2. The lack of competent psychological support for independent work of athletes can also be the cause of "stuck" training participants in unpleasant experiences. Often, starting an independent practice and confronted with an unpleasant somatic or psychological symptom, the training participant "drops" the work, believing that advancement will only cause an increase in discomfort. Such a sharp interruption of work is extremely undesirable in itself, but if, at the same time, there is no competent specialist of the psychological and pedagogical support system or a trained assistant (with whom the athlete can report his experience), then the delayed consequences can be much more negative: the practitioner risks significantly undermine the development motivation in the field of self-regulation or even lose it, which cannot but affect the effectiveness of the entire training process and, as a result, the results of sports change.

It is important to understand that the occurrence of strong negative experiences:

- growth of the general psychoemotional tension

- the occurrence of unpleasant sensations (burning, pain, weakness, tension, etc.)

- the occurrence of bright negative emotional reactions (fear, anger) etc. testifies to the fact that this person has relevant traumatic experience, which impedes the process of self-regulation and in one way or another influences the metabolic processes of the body and the psychological state. The manifestation of "unpleasant" symptoms in this case is a traumatic "activation", that is, a manifestation of unconscious destructive processes in the body unconsciously, which in turn makes it possible to "deactivate the injury", that is, to work out negative bodily experience and complete the traumatic reaction. Thus, these manifestations should be viewed as evidence of the effectiveness of self-guided work, and the immediate tasks of the psychologist or assistant at this stage are:

  • working out of fear and doubt related to the occurrence of unpleasant experiences and strengthening of motivation to continue independent work.
  • assistance in the catalysis of sufficient resources, the passage and "detente", the completion of the traumatic experience.

Thus, based on the considered risks and their causes, we can offer the following recommendations on the organization of an effective and safe procedure for introducing the SE methodology into the process of pre-competitive preparation and rehabilitation of athletes:

  • Conducting a primary diagnostic study to identify the temperamental and characterological characteristics of athletes and anamnestic research to assess the individual traumatic experience of each athlete
  • Conducting introductory theoretical and practical classes by a qualified specialist to describe the principles, goals and objectives of the work, practical demonstration of the method and clarification of tasks for individual work (already mentioned in the general plan of work)
  • Motivational work with the coaching staff, since this technique can not be effectively implemented outside the productively working triad "psychologist-coach-athlete"
  • Preparation of a qualified psychologist "assistants", that is, the group of the most interested members of the sports team in order to motivate and help their colleagues in the event of difficulties in the passage of individual work. Also, assistants are advised to constantly keep in touch with a professional psychologist to obtain (if necessary) timely advice on individual cases (already mentioned in the general plan of work).
  • Regular procedural and diagnostic monitoring of the development of athletes of the SE method by the method of diagnostic planned cuts and conducting group classes with demonstration works by the professional psychologist, answers to questions raised by ordinary participants of the training and "assistants" in the course of work.
  • An important recommendation is also the provision of comfortable conditions for group work, the main ones being the availability of sufficient space for free placement of all participants of the training, isolation from other rooms (at least for the duration of the classes), ensuring the integrity of the group (no one comes and does not go away in the process of work) and a time frame sufficient to carry out full-fledged work. Also, it is advisable to provide in advance all the necessary inventory and stimulus materials from both the psychologist and the receiving party. (Already mentioned above in the necessary conditions)

Pre-approbation of the Somatic Experience method within the project. As part of the pre-approbation of our methodology, HB Assistance specialists conducted practical work with 110 athletes representing various sports (wrestling, canoeing, hockey, sailing and cycling).

The pre-approbation included an introductory lesson divided into two successive blocks aimed at informing athletes about the meaning of the method used and procedural diagnostics of the functional state of athletes in the context of the Somatic Experience method:

Block 1: (theoretical) - the athletes got acquainted with the basic concepts of the SE methodology, asked their questions and received feedback from the leader

Block 2: (practical) - athletes received practical experience in mastering basic techniques of SE, under the guidance of an experienced psychologist, conducted the final "Sharing" (discussion of personal experience), where athletes gave feedback on their experiences and shared other impressions.

Based on these lessons, we managed to identify:

  • About 30% of the athletes out of the total number of trained participants reported on symptomatology that impeded both locomotor activity and simply stable negative experiences and somatic conditions.
  • 28% had a history of medical operations under general anesthesia (which, according to Levin, is a "medical trauma")
  • About 15% of athletes reported experiencing shock traumas during their athletic career and before it began
  • About 8% of athletes reported obsessive and intractable psychosomatic experiences (vegetative crises, circadian rhythm disturbances, tension headaches, etc.)
  • 3 participants in a confidential conversation reported on the symptomatology of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder)

Также, по результатам устного опроса спортсменов, 75% высказало заинтересованность в дальнейшем знакомстве с методом и желание научиться самостоятельной работе по методике СП.

Also, according to the results of an oral survey of athletes, 75% expressed interest in further acquaintance with the method and a desire to learn independent work on the methodology of SE.

Based on the foregoing and these results, we recommend using the "Somatic Experience" technique to work with highly qualified athletes. At the very beginning of our article, we cited quite pessimistic thoughts of Safonov V.K., regarding the current state of the teaching staff system in big-time sports. The main criterion for pessimism was the data of a diagnostic study that showed a variety of pathological psychosymptomatics in a larger number of professional athletes. It seems to us that the method proposed here could effectively and ecologically solve a number of problems that generate such a state. It is difficult to overestimate the importance of practical data that could be obtained as a result of carrying out a full range of activities included in the method of Somatic Living. However, for now we remain only at the level of assumptions, albeit supported by a significant amount of scientific and practical data.


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1 in the article mentioned above, Safonov gives a detailed report on the psychological examination of highly qualified athletes and the disappointing symptomatology identified during this examination - commentary of author.

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