Sport Psychology - How to Help
Friends often turn to friends when they are in distress, need help or want advice. Most of the time, this is a good thing; however, other times the problems/concerns your friend/teammate shares with you might feel really worrisome to you, too big to deal with on your own, scary, intense or quite overwhelming. You may feel as though you are not sure what to do to help. These feelings are often signs that you should encourage your friend to seek additional help.
When helping a friend/teammate, here are some general guidelines to keep in mind:
- If you find that you are spending large amounts of time talking to your friend, worrying about them and/or trying to solve their problems for them, it is time for you to recruit more help. You are here for an education and growth experiences, and taking on other’s problems distracts you from those goals and usually prevents your friend/teammate from getting the best possible help. Avoid taking on other's problems and then feeling responsible for the outcome of the problem.
- When you are talking to your friend/teammate about their problem, do not promise to keep things confidential. By doing so, you may later be in a difficult situation if that person ends up being in danger of hurting themselves or someone else. You may delay asking for needed help because you promised not to tell anyone, and the situation could actually get worse.
- Get support for yourself if you feel you need it or if you do not know what to do to help your friend. Resources you can turn to are sport psychology staff, your trainers, coaches, sport medicine physician, academic counselors or other supportive athletic personal. If you are in the residence halls, you can also talk with a residence hall staff member and they can direct you to additional resources as well.